Fly Fossils from China

Fossilised flies on matrix, likely from the Yixian Formation of Liaoning, China.


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Fly Fossils from China

While we have probably all seen a fly or an insect trapped in Amber or Copal, these fossils are far less common. They are the genuine remains of insects turned to stone.

Soft tissues generally do not fossilise - it is usually the hard bones, teeth, etc that tend to fossilise. For these soft tissues to fossilise, very specific events must have taken place - in all likelihood covered by a very fine silty mud soon after death, or as a cause of death, before being covered in layers of sediment.

These pieces were purchased from an old collection as part of an estate clearance - they were labelled as Yixian formation, but I am not fully able to authenticate that as the locale.

They are phenomenally preserved, some even having hairy legs under a microscope! These were exported from China prior to the export ban, so are not supporting the 'black market' fossil trade.

Our current stock (and likely only stock ever) includes:

  • #1 - 63x36x8MM - a slightly damaged specimen with a crushed body and torn wings. It is possible this occurred before fossilisation but I cannot be certain.
  • #2 - 50x36x8.5MM - a fly in 'flight' mode, with wings spread.
  • #3 - 61x54x11MM  - an excellent specimen with good preservation; hairy legs are visible under the microscope.
  • #5 - 60.5x54.5x7MM - a fly with highly detailed wings, but a slightly smushed body. Has what could be another fossil on the rear, but this may be a fracture from removal.
  • #6 - 58x40.5x5.5MM - a fly with extremely detailed eyes and hairy legs visible under the microscope.
  • #7 - 56.4x52x7.5MM - a nice specimen with what looks like a mosquito or similar. It also has the body and some remnants of another creature on the matrix, which may be made clearer with further prep. Hairy legs under the microscope!

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