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Amber Inclusion/ Webspinner Zorapteran

Have you seen a webspinner? What are webspinners, anyway? No, they are not spiders. They are insects which are dimorphic, meaning they may have or may not have wings. If you want to learn more about webspinners, get your field microscopes and look for moist locations (under decaying logs, sawdust piles, dead barks). Chances are high you will find these insects. Use field microscopes to identify and study these insects. Try magnifying the physical features of webspinners using field microscopes.

Webspinners or Zorapterans are insects that belong to Class Insecta, subclass Pterygota, phylum Arthropoda. The twenty-two identified webspinner species are categorized under a single family Zorotypidae in a single genus Zorotypus and order Zoraptera. These insects, which you can view using field microscopes, live in small colonies that contain fifteen to twenty members. Their diet primarily consists of spores, fungal hyphae, mites, nematodes, and other tiny arthropods.

The insect order Zoraptera is considered as the most poorly understood and least diverse among the insect community. The insects belonging to this order are so small you need a microscope such as field microscopes to view them. They look like termites (Isoptera) or bark lice (Psoceptera). Webspinners, when viewed under field microscopes, have a body length of less than 3 millimeters, inclusive of their antennae. The color of the webspinners varies from off-white tp brown. Individuals of each insect (webspinner) species come about in two morphs: the winged and eyed forms and the apterous forms. The winged and eyed form webspinners tend to then shed their wings after dispersal or when they get blind. The webspinners belonging to the latter morph form are wingless and are predominant in colonies. These insects are very sociable.

Even though they are dimorphic, this class of insects does not have a caste system. Both forms (those with and without wings) are sexually functional insect adults. The webspinners that have wings will have a high probability of shedding it off since the wings have weak venation. If you look closely in the field microscope when viewing their mouth parts, you will see that they have a chewing type mouth part.

A preliminary attempt (the one and only) was made to clarify the phylogenetic relationships between the zorapteran species. An unfinished and ongoing comprehensive monograph of the webspinner order has been done but you would have to wait for a few years for the results. Using your field microscopes, you can make your own monograph of webspinners that can be seen in your neighborhood.

It takes practice and determination (and of course, sheer luck!) to locate habitats of Zorapterans. Entomologists believe that the "rarity" of Zorapterans is only due to the difficulty in the method of collecting the insects rather than the webspinners actually being scarce. A "Zoraptera stage" was identified in a decomposing log. This stage is apparent when the decomposing log can be torn easily with a vey ordinary tool. The Zorapteran colonies usually inhabit naturally-formed spaces that light cannot reach in logs. Using this information, a webspinner collector or even a student can fog with a lo with a general insecticide before dissecting it (the log) so that the fog will aid in the insect collection. If you want to preserve a Zorapteran, use ethanol. After preserving the insect, you can mount it on a slide as a dry sample and view the webspinner under a microscope.

Other Amber Inclusions:
Amber Inside Amber, Ants, Amber Jewelry, Ant Larvae, Ant Pupa, Assassin Bugs, Bees, Beetles, Bristletails, Bugs, Caterpillars, Centipedes, Crickets, Earwigs, Eggs, Feathers, Fighting-Interacting-Carrying, Flies, Flowers & Buds, Gnats, Grasshoppers, Inchworms, Isopods, Jumping Plant Lice, Large Insects, Larvae, Leafhoppers, Leaves, Mammal Hair, Mating Insects, Microcosm (A Little World), Midges, Millipedes, Mites, Mites on Host, Mosquitos, Moths, Other Insects, Other Inclusions (Non-Insect), Other Botanical, Plant Hoppers, Praying Mantis, Pseudoscorpions, Psocids, Pupa and Larvae, Queen Ants, Rare/Unusual/Odd Inclusions, Roaches, Roots of Botanical, Scorpions, Seeds, Snails, Spiders, Spider Webs, Stalactites, Swarms, Termites, Thrips, Ticks, Twigs, Twisted Winged Parasites, Unusual Botanical, Webspinners (Zorapteran), Wasps, Water Bubbles (Enhydros), Weevils
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