Mexican amber

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Polished Amber stones from Simijovel at the Museum of Amber (Museo del Ámbar) in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico

Mexican amber is amber found in Mexico, created during the late Oligocene and Early Miocene epochs of the Cenozoic Era in southwestern North America. As ambers of other origins, it may contain inclusions such as prehistoric insects[1][2][3][4][5] or other arthropods,[6] as well as plant fragments[7] or epiphyllous fungi.[8]


Mexican amber is mainly recovered from fossil bearing rocks in the Simojovel region of Chiapas, Mexico. It is one of the main minerals recovered in the state of Chiapas, much of which is 25 million years old, with quality comparable to that found in the Dominican Republic. Chiapan amber has a number of unique qualities, including much that is clear all the way through and some with fossilized insects and plants. Most Chiapan amber is worked into jewelry including pendants, rings and necklaces. Colors vary from white to yellow/orange to a deep red, but there are also green and pink tones as well. Since pre-Hispanic times, native peoples have believed amber to have healing and protective qualities.
The largest amber mine is in Simojovel, a small village 130 km from Tuxtla Gutiérrez, which produces 95% of Chiapas' amber. Other mines are found in Huitiupán, Totolapa, El Bosque, Pueblo Nuevo Solistahuacán, Pantelhó and San Andrés Duraznal. According to the Museum of Amber in San Cristóbal, almost 300 kg of amber is extracted per month from the state. Prices vary depending on quality and color.

The amber dates from between 22.5 million years old, for the youngest sediments of the Balumtun Sandstone and 26 million years old for the oldest La Quinta Formation.


The amber was produced by either the two extinct leguminous tree Hymenaea mexicana or Hymenaea allendis, both of which were initially described from fossil flowers included in Mexican amber.[9]

Fossil inclusions[edit]

Piece of amber with scorpion as seen through magnifying glass at the Museum of Amber in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico

The Tityus apozonalli scorpion holotype fossil is composed of a very complete adult male recovered from the Guadalupe Victoria site.[10] The amber dates from between 23 million years old at the oldest and 15 million years at the youngest. The Guadalupe Victoria site is an outcrop of amber bearing strata belonging to the Mazantic Shale and Balumtum Sandstone. The deposits preserve a transitional river or stream environments near the coast and preserves fossils of a mangrove forest ecosystem.[10]

Asteromites mexicanus is an epiphyllous coelomycetes fungus species recovered on a petal.[8]

Arthropod species[edit]


  1. ^ De Andrade, M. L. (1995). "The ant genus Aphaenogaster in Dominican and Mexican amber (Amber Collection Stuttgart: Hymenoptera, Formicidae. IX: Pheidolini)". Stuttgarter Beitrage zur Naturkunde (B). 223: 1–11.
  2. ^ Engel, MS; Grimaldi, DA (2007). "The neuropterid fauna of Dominican and Mexican amber (Neuropterida, Megaloptera, Neuroptera)" (PDF). American Museum Novitates. 3587: 1–58. doi:10.1206/0003-0082(2007)3587[1:TNFODA]2.0.CO;2.
  3. ^ Jennings, J.T.; Krogmann, L.; Mew, S. (2012). "Hyptia deansi sp. nov., the first record of Evaniidae (Hymenoptera) from Mexican amber" (PDF). Zootaxa. 3349: 63–68.
  4. ^ Krishna, K.; Emerson, A. E. (1983). "A New Fossil Species of Termite from Mexican Amber, Mastotermes electromexicus (Isoptera, Mastotermitidae)" (PDF). American Museum Novitates. 2767: 1–8.
  5. ^ Solórzano Kraemer, M. M.; Mohrig, W. (2007). "Schwenckfeldina archoica sp. nov. (Diptera, Sciaridae) from the middle Miocene Mexican amber" (PDF). Alavesia. 1: 105–108.
  6. ^ Solórzano Kraemer, Mónica M. (2007). "Systematic, palaeoecology, and palaeobiogeography of the insect fauna from Mexican amber". Palaeontographica Abteilung A.
  7. ^ Jochen Heinrichs; Alfons Schäfer-Verwimp; Julia Boxberger; Kathrin Feldberg; Mónica M. Solórzano Kraemer; Alexander R. Schmidt (2014). "A fossil species of Ceratolejeunea (Lejeuneaceae, Porellales) preserved in Miocene Mexican amber". The Bryologist. doi:10.1639/0007-2745-117.1.010.
  8. ^ a b Poinar, G Jr. "Coelomycetes in Dominican and Mexican amber". Mycol Res. 107: 117–22. doi:10.1017/s0953756202007001. PMID 12735252.
  9. ^ Calvillo-Canadell, L.; Cevallos-Ferriz, S.R.S.; Rico-Arce, L. (2010). "Miocene Hymenaea flowers preserved in amber from Simojovel de Allende, Chiapas, Mexico". Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology. 160 (3–4): 126–134. doi:10.1016/j.revpalbo.2010.02.007.
  10. ^ a b Riquelme, F.; Villegas-Guzmán, G.; González-Santillán, E.; Córdova-Tabares, V.; Francke, O. F.; Piedra-Jiménez, D.; Estrada-Ruiz, E.; Luna-Castro, B. (2015). "New Fossil Scorpion from the Chiapas Amber Lagerstätte". PLoS ONE. 10 (8): 1–20. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0133396. PMC 4526686. PMID 26244974.
  11. ^ David Peris; Mónica M. Solórzano Kraemer; Enrique Peñalver; Xavier Delclòs (September 2015). "New ambrosia beetles (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Platypodinae) from Miocene Mexican and Dominican ambers and their paleobiogeographical implications". Organisms Diversity & Evolution. 15: 527–542. doi:10.1007/s13127-015-0213-y.
  12. ^ Daniel J. Bickel; Monica M. Solórzano Kraemer (2016). "The Dolichopodidae (Diptera) of Mexican amber". Boletin de la Sociedad Geologica Mexicana.
  • Peris, D.; Kraemer, M. M. S.; Peñalver, E.; Delclòs; Peris, D.; Kraemer, M. M. S.; Peñalver, E.; Delclòs, X. (2015). "New ambrosia beetles (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Platypodinae) from Miocene Mexican and Dominican ambers and their paleobiogeographical implications". Organisms Diversity & Evolution. 15 (3): 527–542. doi:10.1007/s13127-015-0213-y.

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