HomeOutdoorsViral30 Million-Year-Old Praying Mantis Preserved In Dominican Amber

30 Million-Year-Old Praying Mantis Preserved In Dominican Amber

by Brett Stayton
Malaysian Praying Mantis Flexing
Photo by Wild Hunter/Getty Images

A fossilized chunk of tree resin has morphed into a gorgeous hunk of rock that perfectly preserves a fossilized Praying Mantis. The geological spectacle is artistic enough that it has repeatedly gone viral online. It also fetched a pretty penny and an auction a while back too.

“30 Million-year-old Praying Mantis is preserved in amber found in the Dominican Republic. The piece in question is dated to the Oligocene period. That places it anywhere from about 23 million to 33.9 million years old. The amber itself derives from the extinct Hymenaea protera, a prehistoric leguminous tree. Most amber found in Central and South America comes from its resin. Amber from the Dominican Republic is known as Dominican resin, which is noted for its clarity and a high number of inclusions.

The absolutely incredible photo just went viral again on Twitter through an account by the name of “Fascinating.”

Super Rare Geological Artifact Sold for $6,000

The geological spectacle is fascinating enough to have gone viral repeatedly. The 30 million-year-old Praying Mantis in a hunk of Amber from the Dominican Republic first made big news in 2016. That’s when it went for $6,000. My Modern Met reports that the amber in ancient natural artifacts comes from fossilized tree resin from an extinct species of leguminous tree.

The crystalized bug is from the Oligocene period. That makes it anywhere between an estimated 23 million and 33.9 million years old.

Praying Mantis’ Are Fascinating Insects And Powerful Hunters

The ambered Praying Mantis looks pretty identical to the modern-day praying mantis’. The species in ancient, going back over 135 million years ago. There are over 2,400 species of mantises around the world today. Those species live mainly in tropical climates.

Praying Mantises are pretty big bugs, growing several inches in length. They are savage predators, eating mostly insects like crickets, spiders, grasshoppers, and locusts. Additionally, even larger ones will also eat lizards, snakes, and even small birds. An absolutely wild video previously shared by Nature Is Metal shows a huge Praying Mantis struggling to subdue a hummingbird after snatching it in from an ambushed position.

There are actually two invasive species of Praying Mantises found in America that are wreaking havoc on gardens across the southeast. The Chinese and European strains of Praying Mantis are out-competing the native species of Praying Mantis in that part of the U.S. While the Carolina mantises evolved with the native ecosystem, the two invasive species are eating those same delicate plant-based ecosystems out of balance.

This documentary about Praying Mantises on Animal Planet even labeled the insect species as the perfect predator. The description said they Use their entire arms like razor blades. A Praying Mantis can feast on prey 3 times its size. Come see why martial artists have based their moves around this killer insect.”