These massive, by modern standards, insects possessed long, serrated sucking tubes, ideal for the piercing of dinosaur hides,
In the time of the huge creatures that were dinosaurs, they got preyed upon, as fossil-hunting enthusiasts have uncovered, by giant Jurassic fleas, monster insects which sucked dinosaur blood 100m years ago or more.
These massive, by modern standards, insects possessed long, serrated sucking tubes, ideal for the piercing of dinosaur hides, which they clung tenaciously onto with the spines on their bodies and sharp claws on their legs.
Very similar to the fleas known today, these incredible insects were 5 to 10 X larger, some females over 2cm in length, though unlike modern fleas, these giants had not yet evolved specialised jumping legs. So rather than being jumping insects, the biology of the Jurassic fleas saw them probably creeping between the feathers or the fur of the animals they preyed upon.
André Nel, a Paris National Museum of Natural History in Paris palaeontologist, believes that the ancient fleas may have fed on flying reptiles called pterosaurs, and perhaps early mammals. A multi-national research team examined 9 fossilised flea specimens found at two Chinese sites.
5 specimens, believed to be 165m years old, were uncovered at an ancient lake bed in Ningcheng County, Inner Mongolia, chances being that animals either got rid of fleas in the water, or died there. The 4 other flea specimens – 125m years old – originated at a rocky outcrop in Liaoning Province in northeast China.
Apparently, a few of the fossils were unearthed by local people, who sold the specimens on to scientists, who found them to have features are so well preserved that the identification of claws on each of the six legs was possible. Tiny teeth were visible on the claws, features that obviously were employed to help the insects cling.
Females turned out to be larger bodied, with bigger mouth parts, and longer sucking tubes to feed through, than males, whose genitalia were said to be large and exposed. These amazing finds have given scientists an idea of how fleas evolved, their enlarged features implying that they evolved to feed on both hairy animals and feathered dinosaurs, before moving to preying on mammals and birds over the course of time.