Smaller than a Microraptor!

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Temporal range: Lower Jurassic
Archaeolepis wing venation
An artist's interpretation the wing of Archaeolepis mane
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Archaeolepidae
Genus: Archaeolepis
Whalley, 1985
Species: A. mane
Binomial name
Archaeolepis mane
Whalley, 1985

Archaeolepis mane is the earliest known Lepidopteran fossil. It dates from the Lower Jurassic (ca 190 million years ago) and according to Grimaldi & Engel (2005) a recent re-examination of the specimen has given additional support to its ordinal placement. The fossil consists of a pair of wings with scales that are characteristically similar to the wing venation pattern found in Trichoptera (caddisflies).

The fossil was found in Dorset in the United Kingdom.

In popular culture[]

  • In The Land Before Time, where Archaeolepis is pursued by a newly hatched Ducky.
  • In Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, These giant Archaeolepis are big enough to rival the size of mammoths. How they do this is unknown, but there could be that there is more oxygen in Dino World. Buck claimed to have known one of them as a caterpillar, "Before he came out." as he quoted.