The Insect Museum of West China, Asia's largest insect museum, has organized an exhibition that will showcase rare insect fossils, which include that of an ant believed to have lived 165 million years ago.
The exhibit, which opened on Sunday, will last for a month displaying fossils of the oldest ants, dragonflies, bees and beetles, many of which are from the Jurassic period.
Museum curator Zhao Li said that insect fossils are scarce because the creatures' exoskeleton do not preserve well. He also added that some of the fossilized insects do not look the same as their modern-day descendants.
The most precious of the specimen in the exhibition is the fossil of an ant believed to be 165 million years old.
"The well-preserved fossil was found in volcano limestone in Ningcheng County, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region," Zhao said.
China has had many remarkable discoveries of insect fossils. In 2014, researchers discovered the fossil of an ancient insect whose appearance mimics that of a leaf similar to Gingko tree in Liaoning province in northeastern China.
The insect, known as Cretophasmomima melanogramma, is an ancient relative of the stick insect. It lived about 126 million years ago and is known as the oldest stick or leaf insect that uses camouflage as a form of trickery.
"Cretophasmomima melanogramma is one of the grand-cousins of today's stick and leaf insects," said Olivier Béthoux, paleontologist from the National Museum of Natural History in Paris.
Similarly remarkable species of modern-day insects have also been found in the country. The largest flying aquatic insect in the world was found in Sichuan province. The giant dobsonfly was described as something that resembles a giant dragonfly with long teeth.
The critter is big enough to cover a human adult's face. Entomologists said that this insect is an indicator of water quality because it lives in clean bodies of water.
It is also very sensitive to any changes in the pH level of water and the presence of pollutants. Once the water is contaminated, the giant dobsonfly will look for cleaner waters.
The Insect Museum of West China has over 400,000 insect samples that were collected from more than 40 countries. Of these, more than 20,000 are on display. The museum also houses more than 40 rare and unique insect species.