Horsehoe Crab Beetle in Dominican Amber
= 1 inch): Amber: 8 mm long 12 mm across, Insect: 1 mm, Botanical:
Region near Santiago, Dominican Republic
This amber piece displays an unusual beetle, known colloquially
as a horseshoe crab beetle. Once placed in the Limulodidae (after
Limulus the horseshoe crab), , they have recently been assigned
to a different family. There
are less than 40 extant species
in 5 genera, all of which are associated with ants. The armored
shell would provide protection and at least some exude pheromones
that ward simulate those released by the ants. There is also
a botanical inclusion: a fragment of bryophyte. Today’s
examples are members of the mosses, hornworts, and liverworts.
This fragment is readily apparent. The beetle is near the edge
and will take some maneuvering with the aid of a loupe to discover
its hiding place.