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Birth of a worm  -  Copula  -  Eggs  -  Parasitism  -  Mobile bubbles  -  Hidden insect  -  Mass slaughter  -  Amber with marine concretions  -  Exuviae  -  Insect Droppings

On this page you may find some of the ambers of my collection that show particularities worth consideration and discussion.

  All pictures may be downloaded and used freely.

Birth of a worm

Part of my collection consists in hundreds of pieces from amber necklaces. 

Many of them are still to be examined, all, however, contain some small insect or some other “strange” object. 

Recently I examined a piece of amber I believed to contain a fragment of wood. 

My curiosity increased while I was polishing it and at last I was deeply moved.

It won’t happen often to see a small worm ( egg 0,5mm – worm 1,1mm ) hardly slipped out of his egg and imprisoned in a piece of amber. 

                     General view                          Directly illuminated                            Operculum

Hereafter part of the interesting letter by Prof. Eugenio Ragazzi:

“The evidence that the animal was able to get in the still liquid mass, as you may see from the kind of cavity around the body, gives further information on the process of fossilization of the amber. Most probably the liquid contained in the egg allowed the worm to survive long enough to be able to slip outside the egg. Maybe it hatched before time, trying desperately to flee from hypoxia, as exchange of gasses  with the outside was no longer possible.”

Mating midges - Rare.

Spiders in copula? ( 22 mm) - Amber  018

Ambra 567 Diptera Nematocera: Chironomidae accoppiamento Ambra 568 Diptera Nematocera: Cecidomyiidae accoppiamento
Amber 0567

Diptera Nematocera: Chironomidae

Amber 0568

Diptera Nematocera: Cecidomyiidae

Ambra 699 Diptera Brachycera: Dolichopodidae accoppiamento Ambra 700 Diptera Nematocera: Chironomidae accoppiamento
Amber 0699

Diptera Brachycera: Dolichopodidae

Amber 0700

Diptera Nematocera: Chironomidae

Ambra 893 Diptera Nematocera: Chironomidae accoppiamento
Amber 0893

Diptera Nematocera: Chironomidae

Amber 0944

Diptera in copula 


The eggs are a quite rare finding, a few times they scattered in the amber other times are near the female which laid them.

         Amber 0130 - Amber containing several insects of various kinds and with two groups of eggs

                                                                Amber 0130 -  two separate groups of Diptera eggs

                                                                    Amber 0130 -    eggs of unidentified insect

                                                                                                            Amber 0315 - Arcaeognatha (?) with eggs  

Ambra 839 Diptera Brachycera con uova ambra Trichoptera con uova
Amber 839

Diptera Brachycera with eggs.

Trichoptera with eggs.

Amber given to the Museo Civico di Scienze Naturali di Bergamo.

Ambra 902 Trichoptera con uova Ambra 578 Coleottero con 2 uova
Amber 902

Trichoptera with eggs.

Amber 578

Coleoptera with 2 eggs.

Ambra 312 Diptera Brachycera con uova distanziate Ambra 094 Nematocera: Chironomidae con uova
Amber 0312

Diptera Brachycera with eggs

Amber 094 

Nematocera: Chironomidae with eggs


A  parasite is an organism living at the expense of some other.

Presumably  the oldest parasites can be found in amber and are mainly mite (arachnida: mite)

In baltic amber mite can be found frequently, however, seldom as parasites. Probably you need a sharp eye and a very good microscope to detect these.

My collection comprises various pieces containing mite, but I find it difficult to take pictures. The tiny mites (0.2-1mm) are nearly always hidden by the body of their host.

Ambra 121 Acaro su Emittero Ambra 121 Acaro su Emittero
                                                                          Amber 121 - Hemiptera with mite

Ambra 511 Diptera con acaro sul dorso Ambra 59 Dittero con acaro attaccato all'addome
Amber 0511

Diptera with mit

Amber 0059

Diptera with mite 

Looking closely at these pictures you may wonder how these insects managed to survive with a mite on their wing or their abdomen. Maybe they fell into the resin for their very difficulty in piloting

You will note that these parasite stayed firmly attached to their hosts and did not abandon them to gain safety.  

Ambra 583 Dittero Brachycera: Dolichopodidae  con acaro
Amber 0583

Diptera with mite

Amber 0250

Diptera with mite on the back 

Ambra 612 Dittero con parassita sulle zampe, un altro si è staccato Ambra 790 Dittero con 2 parassiti: sull'addome e sull'ala
Amber 0612

Diptera with mite on the leggs

Amber 0790

Diptera with 2 mites: wing and abdomen

Ambra 622
Amber 0622

Diptera has been invaded by mites.

Amber 0938

Diptera with mite 

                                                                                          Amber 0131 - Frigane with a parasite coupled to a limb

Mobile bubbles

It is quite easy to find empty bubbles in baltic amber, whereas they seldom  contain water with mobile bubbles of air.

The picture shows an oblong formation, in three parts, containing a small bubble that travels from one sector to the next according the inclination of  the  amber.

This allows for the following consideration:

- the presence of water is due to damp surrounding (rain, dew).  

- the resin must have dropped down abundantly from the tree, running in parallel to the main  axis of the bubbles and it must have been quite fluid in order to be able to include the water that otherwise would have evaporated.

- if  you look at the photo the direction of the flow must have been from left to right (really from top to bottom) as in fact the bigger bubble seems “flattened” and shrinked due to the adhesivenessof the resin on its way down.

Hidden insect

ambra Insetto nascosto ambra Insetto nascosto
Recently I bought two pieces of amber showing  a rather big cylindrical formation, red brown and opaque . 

I was guaranteed that they are twigs trapped in the resin. As they weren’t expensive I bought them, though sceptical.

Apart a larva and some stellate hairs in one and two dipteria in the other they contain nothing interesting, and the surface of the twig shows nothing special.

So one day I decided to treat the two pieces with distilled water,and slowly the twigs became transparent and one the amber set free its hidden prisonner, the hollow twig had trapped a rather big insect.

I have not yet identified the insect that can be seen only in part, but I presume that the leg belongs to a hemipteron.

Yet I am not  convinced that the cylinders are twigs. I think a more ancient resin casting. 

Mass slaughter

You may often find more than one insect in a piece of amber. Considering that most pieces of amber  are relatively small you may conclude that 40.000.000 years ago there must have been an enormous quantity of insects or that the resin attracted them strongly.

What puzzles me is to find pieces of amber with dozens of insects of the same species or also various species, so one might even think of collective suicide.

Ambra 0147 - 37x25mm Diptera Nematocera: Sciaridae Ambra 148 - 28x25 mm Diptera Nematocera: Sciaridae 58 esemplari
Amber 0147 - 37x25mm

Diptera Nematocera: Sciaridae 52 ex.

Amber 0148 - 28x25 mm

Diptera Nematocera: Sciaridae 58 ex.

Ambra 0232 Moltissimi acari e pollini Ambra 0310 12 Diptera Nematocera
Amber 0232

Many acari and pollens 

Amber 0310

12 Diptera Nematocera  

Ambra 0580 Molti Diptera Nematocera: Sciaridae
Amber 0580

Many Diptera Nematocera: Sciaridae

Amber 0686

Many Diptera  35 ca. 

Ambra 846 15 Diptera Sciaridae
Amber 0846 

15 Diptera Sciaridae

Amber 0130

 Mass of various insects

The nematocera: sciaridae seem to be more often subject to “collective suicide” ; it seems also particularly strange that all insects (Diptera) are males.

Amber 0666 - Much pollen, stellate hairs, mites and springtails, probably transported by wind

Amber with marine concretions

Nodulo di ambra grezza con numerose concrezioni marine Nodulo di ambra grezza con numerose concrezioni marine
                                            Amber 0943  -  Nodule of raw amber with marine concretions, length 33 mm.


The Exuvia is the exoskeleton abandoned by an insect after molting - quite rare.

Exuvia - amber 0355 Exuvia - amber 0162 

Little exuvia - amber 0365  Exuvia - amber 0364

Exuvia - amber 0362 Little exuvia - amber 0356

Exuvia - amber 0888  

 Insect droppings

The excreta of insects that lived in the trees could fall on resin  The observation of these excreta is fairly common in Baltic amber; an entomologist, analyzing their structure,  might perhaps go back to the insect which issued.

Excreta 6 mm - amber 0645 Excreta chain  5mm - amber 0092 

Excreta scattered - amber 0870 Long excreta - amber 0584