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Re: Was Triceratops pestered by ticks?/ Amber listserve

Another combo-post:

RaptorRKC@aol.com wrote:
>I have been tempted often to draw bloated ticks attached to the face of a
>tyrannosaur, or to show little pterosaurs pecking between folds of skin on a
>large sauropod to get at the parasites.  However, I, being a complete
>ignoramus in invertebrate paleontology, was unsure whether ticks or the like
>even existed back in the Mesozoic.  Were parasites such as ticks and mites
>around back then?  Were any other sorts of dermal parasites around that might
>have pestered dinosaurs?  Heck, where there even any pterosaurs with snouts
>suited to parasite-picking?

Not sure about ticks, skeeters, or other chew-ums, but...

A biting midge (sand fly, no-see-um, punky) is known from the Cretaceous
(of New Jersey).  Check out Steve Kurth's web page for a photo of a
Toronian (Cretaceous; 95 mya) midge in central New Jersey amber:


I don't have the peer-reviewed reference available as I write this. 
I could probably find it with a bit of urging.

An interesting excerpt from the following website follows:


"The family Ceratopogonidae is by far the largest, and least known, of the 
of flies with bloodsucking members. With the exception of a few species of 
however, those species of biting midges attacking man and livestock in Canada 
belong to the genus Culicoides. Most of the species feed either on mammals or 
on birds,
although a few attack only reptiles or amphibians."

For more information on modern biting midges (including illustrations), see the
following 3 websites:




Lastly, for you amber fanatics out there, there is an amber listserv:

You should know the routine by now, folks:

E-mail:   majordomo@kadets.d20.co.edu

In the body of text, type the following:    subscribe amber

I am not on the amber listserv, so don't blame me if it isn't
very scientifically-oriented! (as far as I know, they could
all be scientific-infidels and jewelry-fanatics!)

As far as dino-bug association art is concerned, I would love to see some
good paintings of ants swarming up the body of a Troodon that
accidentally disturbed an ant nest (social ants were also present in the

Also a close-up painting of a titanosaur's foot covered with
swarming ants would be somewhat original.

If you paint swarming midges on a large dinosaur, you may want to
restrict them to the eyes, nostrils and mouth opening.
I doubt that biting midges could break through the tough scutey/
pebbly skin of most of the larger dinosaurs.

> Always looking for the little grotesque details of Mesozoic life, 

Aren't we all....aren't we all....