Exhibition of synathropes

20 December 2017
Press Office of the Amber Museum

This is the name of the insects whose way of life is connected with humans and their inhabitation. They got into amber millions years ago, even before the humankind had appeared.

Insects existed 350 million years ago, in the Devonian Period, when in the place of former lifeless ground vegetation emerged. Small body allowed to use new small amounts of food, also enabled to hide from enemies. The insects' ability to fly increased their chances for survival. Peculiarities of the life cycle (egg-larva-chrysalid-imago) led to dividing of habitats and opened access to the great amount of various kinds of food. Insects inhabited the whole are of the globe, they are absent only in the deeper ocean.

When human appeared, he "entered" the world where insects already existed. Connections of parasites with warm-blooded hosts (mammals, birds) existed tens of millions years before the humans emerged, however he became a host for lice, fleas, etc. First dwellings of humans were caves, where many kinds of insects had already existed. Then these insects "moved" with humans to their houses acquiring a permanent habitat. That is how synathropes originated (from the Greek σύν – together and ἄνθρωπος – human).

There are all groups of synathrope insects presented in Baltic amber – wood louses¸ cockroaches, beetles, butterflies and others. They have adapted to the common dwelling with humans, started compete with them for food and houses. Curator of the exhibition is head of the department for research and exposition Anna Smirnova.