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March 28, 2014

Cretaceous stick insect fossil mimics Ginkgo foliage


Early Cretaceous stick insect (Cretophasmomima melanogramma) adapted to live alongside early Cretaceous plants by protective mimicry. This fossil was found in Inner Mongolia, China, in the Yixian Formation, known as the Jehol biota, dated between 122-130 million years ago.  
It is the earliest known example of stick insect mimicry.
This insect mimics the leaves of  Membranifolia admirabilis,  related to Ginkgo biloba which was common then, but is extinct today. The dark straight veins in the wings in this fossil, when the wings are folded over the back,  closely resembled M. admirabilis.
The insect evolved to look like these leaves, including their shade of green, and concealed itself from predators by blending in the foliage.


Images and free article from PLOS ONE: Under cover at pre-angiosperm times: a cloaked Phasmatodean insect from the early Cretaceous Jehol biota. Wang M, Béthoux O, Bradler S, Jacques FMB, Cui Y, et al. (March 19, 2014).
PLOS ONE 9(3): e91290. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0091290.

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    March 20, 2014

    Wedding under a Ginkgo tree in California


    Video of a wedding under a Ginkgo biloba tree in San Diego (CA.), Presidio Park.
    The famous Ginkgo poem by Goethe is cited (in English translation) .
    More about this poem by Goethe on my website.

    Video by Listen Shows on YouTube featuring featuring Missy Andersen (song)  and Heine Andersen (guitar).

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    March 18, 2014

    Updates of my website The Ginkgo Pages

    * New topic: New Ginkgo cultivars and names list.

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    March 14, 2014

    Pruning 1200-year-old Ginkgo, Nigatake, Japan



    Pruning of a 1200-year-old Ginkgo tree with many chichi in Nigatake, Sendai city, Miyagi prefecture, Northern Honshu, Japan.
    This tree is c.32 m high and has a girth of 7-8 m.
    Legend has it that the dying wish of Byakkouni, a wet nurse of Emperor Shoumu (reign 724-749) was that a Ginkgo be planted on her grave mound. A god is said to be enshrined at the foot of the tree. Women who cannot produce their own milk often worship there.
    Video by mjirou0415 on YouTube, February 2014. This video is part of a series of 6 videos.

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    March 09, 2014

    Old Ginkgo in New Plymouth, New Zealand

    This old female Ginkgo tree is one of the largest of its species recorded in New Zealand and was planted in 1880.
    It is located in New Plymouth, Pukekura Park, Maranui Gully near the List Street gardens, where the track takes a loop to a grove of king ferns.

    Photo courtesy New Plymouth District council.

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    March 08, 2014

    Updates of my website The Ginkgo Pages

     * New Photo of the Month on photospecial page: Huge ginkgo in Winston-Salem, NC.

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    March 02, 2014

    Famous Ginkgo tree, University of Virginia

    The famous Ginkgo tree - Pratt Ginkgo - west of the rotunda at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia.
    This was the University’s first memorial tree and was planted in honor of William Pratt, superintendent of buildings and grounds just before the Civil War. “As fall goes on, the tree turns bright yellow. The leaves fall practically overnight, and in the morning, the ground is covered with gold.”
    Photo and enlargement: Andrew Shurtleff.

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