A primitive bee, full of insect parasites, has been preserved in amber for 100 million years and is the "oldest fossil of its kind ever found".
The insect was found in Myanmar and is the oldest evidence of a primitive bee with pollen in the fossil record, as well as being the first record of insect parasites, which still torment bees today.
The pollen grains on the bee reveal that she visited several flowers before being trapped in amber.
"Other evidence that the fossil bee had visited flowers is the 21 insect triungulins – larvae – on the same piece of amber that were waiting for a ride back to the bee's nest to dine with the bee larvae and their provisions, food left by the female, "said Professor George Poinar Jr. of Oregon State University, USA.
"It is certainly possible that the large number of triungulins caused the bee to accidentally fly into the resin", adds the researcher, quoted by the Daily Mail.
Discoscapa apicula: oldest record of primitive bee from 100 million years ago
Poinar gave the creature the scientific name Discoscapa apicula, which has some traits with wasps and others with modern bees – which makes it important to understand the evolution of modern invertebrates.
"Something unique about the new family that is not found in any existing or extinct strain of wasps or bees is a forked escape […] Fossils like the one in this study can tell us about the changes that certain wasp strains underwent in becoming polynivores – pollen eaters ", concludes the researcher.
The fossil record of bees is quite vast, but most are from the past 65 million years and look very much like modern bees.