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Nature & Environment

Huge bug found outside Walmart turns out to be rare Jurassic-era insect

By T.K. Randall
March 6, 2023 · Comment icon 4 comments

The specimen measured around 2 inches in length. Image Credit: CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 Michael Skvarla / Penn State.
Insect expert Michael Skvarla first came across the peculiar bug outside a shop in Fayetteville, Arkansas in 2012.
It's not every day that you come face-to-face with an insect from the Jurassic era, but that's exactly what happened when Skvarla - director of Penn State University's Insect Identification Lab - visited a branch of Walmart 10 years ago.

"I was walking into Walmart to get milk and I saw this huge insect on the side of the building," he said.

"I thought it looked interesting, so I put it in my hand and did the rest of my shopping with it between my fingers. I got home, mounted it, and promptly forgot about it for almost a decade."
While teaching an online biodiversity course in 2020, however, Skvarla and his students realized that the insect he had found was actually a rare Jurassic-era species known as a giant lacewing.

These huge insects were once common in North America, but by the 1950s they had almost completely disappeared and are now spotted only very rarely.

"This discovery suggests there may be relictual populations of this large, charismatic insect yet to be discovered," Skvarla wrote.

"It could have been 100 years since it was even in this area - and it's been years since it's been spotted anywhere near it. The next closest place that they've been found was 1,200 miles away, so very unlikely it would have traveled that far."

Source: CBS News | Comments (4)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by pellinore 9 months ago
This  article  doesn't make it clear, but the giant lacewing was found alive, after being thought extinct for 50 years. It is now hoped the relic of the Jurassic Period is still surviving in some colonies. Giant Jurassic-era insect rediscovered outside Walmart in Arkansas | Insects | The Guardian
Comment icon #2 Posted by Territtuk 9 months ago
So something strange and rare and then kill it. nice.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Crabby Kitten 9 months ago
It really bothers me when people kill beautiful rare insects just to have it displayed.  
Comment icon #4 Posted by pellinore 9 months ago
  People kill animals just because they can. It is very puzzling. I suppose if a species is on the edge of extinction, you have to take the last chance you might have to kill it, otherwise it will be gone forever. The greater koa finch, an innocuous member of the honeycreeper family, lurked shyly in the canopies of koa trees, but if someone imitated its song it would abandon its cover at once and fly down in a show of welcome. The last of the species vanished in 1896, killed by Rothschild’s ace collector Harry Palmer, five years after the disappearance of its cousin the lesser koa finch,... [More]

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