Amber with Mite Inclusion
What made this mite unusual was that the longest front leg measured approximately 2.10 mm, disproportionately long in relation to the rest of its body. This type of mite, of the genus Podocinum, might be awkward-looking, but its morphology has survived millions of years virtually unchanged, an indication that it was just as efficient a predator then as its living counterpart today. Podocinum is a very slow-moving mite that lives in loose soil, feeding on springtails (Collembola). As it travels about, the mite uses its extremely long front legs to explore the soil around it and quickly snare any springtail that happens to come too close.
A literature search failed to turn up any other example of a Podocinum mite as an inclusion in amber, making this an even more interesting specimen. So while a small polished piece of amber itself might have virtually no commercial or scientific value, the addition of a well-preserved microscopic organism completely changes the value factor of the specimen.
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