Hegna discovers new crustacean species preserved in amber
Department of Geology and Environmental Sciences Assistant Professor Thomas A. Hegna identified and described a new species of blind crustacean (amphipod) preserved in 23 million year-old amber found in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas.
Crustaceans are rarely preserved in amber, owing to their aquatic nature.
The discovery was significant because it sheds light on a little known group with a poor fossil record – the amphipod crustaceans, also known as beach fleas. As Dr. Hegna explained, the fossils have an enigmatic ecology because they are blind – a feature commonly associated with cave-dwelling amphipods. A Science Direct article explaining the find can be found online.