Aethiocarenus is an extinct genus of insects which has a single species (Aethiocarenus burmanicus) described from a 98.79 ±0.62 million year old fossil found in amber from the Hukawng Valley of Myanmar. The insect is unusual due to the vertex of the triangular head being attached to the pronotum as opposed to the hypotenuse. Aethiocarenus is the sole member of the family Aethiocarenidae and order Aethiocarenodea.[1] However, Aethiocarenus may actually be based on a nymph of Alienopterus.[2]


Aethiocarenus was probably an omnivore and had a long, narrow, flat body, and long slender legs. It had glands on the neck that secreted a deposit that is believed to be a chemical used to repel predators.[3]

The eyes are at the sides of the head, allowing the insect to look behind. Glands on the neck indicate that the creature may have emitted chemicals to repel predators.[4]


  1. ^ Poinar, George; Brown, Alex E. (2017). "An exotic insect Aethiocarenus burmanicus gen. et sp. nov. (Aethiocarenodea ord. nov., Aethiocarenidae fam. nov.) from mid-Cretaceous Myanmar amber". Cretaceous Research. 72: 100–104. doi:10.1016/j.cretres.2016.12.011.  (Same at researchgate - free)
  2. ^ Hörnig, Marie K.; Haug, Joachim T.; Haug, Carolin (2017). "An exceptionally preserved 110 million years old praying mantis provides new insights into the predatory behavior of early mantodeans". PeerJ. doi:10.7717/peerj.3605. 
  3. ^ "Ancient, scary and alien-looking specimen forms a rarity in the insect world – a new order". Oregon State University, News and Research Communications. 2017-01-25. Retrieved 2017-01-27. 
  4. ^ Hrala, Josh. "This Scary, Alien-Like Specimen Trapped in Amber Represents a Brand New Order of Insect". ScienceAlert. Retrieved 2017-02-07.