Hegna discovers new crustacean species preserved in amber

Roger Coda
Dr. Thomas Hegna

Dr. Thomas Hegna

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.

amber with crustaceansCrustaceans 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.

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