Since their initial discovery in Russia over twenty years ago, the fossilized remains of the insect Strashila have been a puzzle to palaeontologists. Up until very recently, many scholars believed that these large creepy-crawlies were ectoparasites (like fleas or mosquitos) that lived off pterosaurs or feathered dinosaurs during the Middle Jurrasic period. Strashila's pincer-like legs were thought to have been used to cling to its unfortunate dino-host.

Ecological reconstruction of Strashila daohugouensis sp. nov. (Source: Huang et al. 2013)

But no! Diying Huang and colleagues at the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology have just published a hum-dinger of an article in Nature that contradicts the notion of Strashila as Jurassic flea. Its pincers were used for clinging, but in a sexy way: to hang on to mates during copulation.

Fossils of unfortunate Strashila caught in sedimentary flagrante delicto back the notion that the poor maligned insect was no parasite: instead, it was all about the lovin'.

Figure a is an ecological reconstruction of the male Strashila, while Figure b is the female after its wings
have been shed. Note the gross pincers on the male. (Source: Huang et al. 2013)
The free-spirited, lusty male Strashila also sported abdominal respiratory gills, which would have opened up an exciting array of coital possibilities. Both males and females shed their wings in early life, and then devoted themselves full-time to watersports, crawling into shallow pools to breed. 

That activity, say researchers, would not have bothered any dinosaurs, apart from the prudish Puritanosaurus. 

As an aside, who is doing all these gorgeous prehistoric visualizations? Here's a cute one of the Protungulatum donnae from a few weeks back. They look stylistically similar, and I may want a coffee table book of them.