Mosquitos in Baltic amber

Event duration:
from 16 March 2020 to 17 April 2020

The project "Microworld of Amber" has been intended to popularize natural and scientific collection of the Amber Museum. In the course of exhibitions we present inhabitants of the "amber" forest and tell about their life. Items that due to different reasons are not exhibited in the museum's permanent exposition often become showpieces of the project.

One of the most wide-spread insects found in the Baltic amber are representatives of the order Diptera (two-winged) – suborder Nematocera, i.e. long-horned flies, i.e. mosquitos.

The most often to find are families Sciaridae (sciarid flies), Chironomidae (non-biting midges), Ceratopogonidae (biting midges), and others.

Abundance of these insects was caused by many factors. Mosquitos inhabited prevailing parts of the forest: dump and shadowy, covered with forest canopy, with many water bodies as springs, small rivers, sloughs, and puddles. Such areas always have a lot of decaying organic material (mushrooms, wood, fallen leaves, vegetable litter). Maggots of many mosquitos grew in this substrate – sciarid flies, fungus midges, and others. Maggots of non-biting and biting midges developed in numerous water bodies.

Adult mosquitos swarmed above maggots hatching, so accidently they could get into the resin that was discharged by tree trunks. These light insects could be brought in large number into the sticky resin with a wind gust. That is why sometimes, pieces of amber with several dozens of mosquitos of one type are found.

Text author – Anna Smirnova.
Photo – Andranik Manukyan.

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