Brief Communication

Palaeontology: Fossil record of mass moth migration

  • Nature volume 405, pages 530531 (01 June 2000)
  • doi:10.1038/35014733
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Abstract

The fossil record of moths and butterflies is extremely poor in comparison with other winged-insect groups, with only an estimated 600–700 specimens of fossil Lepidoptera being known1. Here I report the discovery of huge numbers of lepidopteran fossils (about 1,700 specimens) in marine, diatomous sediments of the Fur Formation from the lowermost Tertiary of Denmark (55 million years old). The abundance of the most common species indicates that mass migrations occurred over the Palaeogene North Sea, so the scant fossil record of Lepidoptera reflects poor preservation and not a paucity of lepidopteran species or individuals during the Tertiary.

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Correspondence to Jes Rust.

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