Michael Skvarla, director of Penn State’s Insect Identification Lab, came across an astonishingly large flying insect while shopping for groceries.“I remember it vividly, because I was walking into Walmart to get milk and I saw this huge insect on the side of the building,” said Skvarla, who was working on his PhD at the University of Arkansas at the time. Read more: Missing father of 3 found inside shark’s stomach, IDed by tattoo “I thought it looked interesting, so I put it in my hand and did the rest of my shopping with it between my fingers.
I got home, mounted it, and promptly forgot about it for almost a decade.”At the time, Skvarla didn’t know that the insect he so casually held in his fingers was a living artifact. What he thought was an antlion, a bug that resembles a dragonfly, was actually a giant lacewing.Giant lacewings were abundant during the time of the dinosaurs, but they mysteriously died out in eastern North America over half a century ago.
The last giant lacewing recorded in the area was found in the 1950s but this is the first of the species to be found in Arkansas. Read more: ChatGPT wouldn’t exist without Canadian AI pioneers.
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