Superorder Dictyoptera, Order Blattodea, Family Manipulatoridae
Time: Late Cretaceous, Cenomanian Stage (~100 million years ago)
mm = 1 inch): Amber: 17 mm long, 10 mm across, Inclusion: 8 mm, plus
Hukawng Valley, Kachin State, Myanmar
This plaque of amber displays one of the ultimate survivors of
the insect world: a cockroach. Members of the order have been
around from the Carboniferous some 300 million years ago. This
one, preserved in Burmite amber, is some 100 million years old
and looks as if it could have been scuttling around in the kitchen
just yesterday. What is most unusual about this one is it presumably
displayed a predatory lifestyle much like that of its close relatives
the praying mantises. This taxon was described just last year,
and is thought to have been a pursuit predator, a niche not known
to have been hitherto occupied by extinct cockroaches. It is
so different from other known fossil roaches as to have been
given its own family, of which it at present is the only member.
The elongated limbs and semi-raptorial forelimbs are most certainly
indicative of its presumed habit. At the time of its naming only
a half dozen examples were known.
Jersimantis luzzii praying mantis in amber and Pseudoscorpion
in Cretaceous Fossil Amber and Centipede
in Cretaceous Amber
AMNH Novitates, No. 3361, Mar 26, 2002.
Carpathica, April 2015, 66, 2, pp 133-138.