Large predatory insect fossil discovered in Utah

VERNAL, Utah – A group of paleontologists from Utah and Argentina discovered a 151 million year old insect fossil in southeastern Utah.

“Morrisonnepa jurassica” was discovered in the Morrison Formation, which gave birth to other famous fossils such as the Apatosaurus, Allosaurus, and Stegosaurus.

The large predatory insect measures about five centimeters and was a member of the hemipteran insect group Nepomorpha (“real water bugs”) and seems to be related to the modern family Belostomatidae, the latter also known as “giant water bugs”.

The insect’s modern relatives were known to eat invertebrates such as snails and crustaceans, but also vertebrates such as fish, amphibians, and snakes.

The latest fossil, originally discovered in 2017, is now in the paleontological collections of the Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum in Vernal, Utah.

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