Chinese researchers have unearthed two giant blood-sucking insects at different dig sites that are the largest known flea type creatures of their size.
The largest female discovered flea type creature measured at 20.6 millimeters (.81 inches) while the largest male was a still impressive 14.7 millimeters (.58 inches).
The blood suckers are not only bigger then modern fleas; they also lacked their jumping hind legs.
According to the group that discovered the blood suckers in Ningcheng County, Inner Mongolia, one of the fossils dates back to the Middle Jurassic period which occurred nearly 165 million years ago. The other fossil found in the Liaoning Province is”younger” with a Lower Cretaceous period date of nearly 50 million years ago.
The most striking feature of the fleas was their blood-sucking ”siphonate” mouthparts which were both unusually long and sturdy, according to the Telegraph.
This would have been used to pierce the hides of their hosts, said an international team of scientists reporting the finds in the journal Nature.
Why the fleas were so large, and armed with such powerful weaponry, is a puzzle, because only small shrew-like mammals existed during the Jurassic and early Cretaceous periods.
Modern fleas feed on furry and feathered animals which has led researchers to believe that they served the same location in China where several furry and feathered dinosaurs have been discovered.