Researchers working in Italy have found the oldest specimens of bugs trapped in amber. The critters are a whopping 230 million years old, which puts them in the late Triassic period. The team found one fly and two mites in droplets of amber less than 6 millimeters long. These three specimens are 100 million years older than any other amber-entombed bugs found to date.
According to the results, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the mites are both totally new species. The fly could not be identified because its body was not well preserved. The mites are actually very similar to the gall mites seen today, which means the species saw little change over the past many millions of years. Now that the researchers know Triassic specimens exist, they said they are excited to hunt for more.