Habitus drawing of holotype female (SEMC F001019) of Borneomymar pankowskiorum, new species.

Abstract. A new fossil species of fairyfly (Hymenoptera: Chalcidoidea: Mymaridae) is described and figured from a well-preserved female in middle Eocene (Lutetian) Baltic amber as Borneomymar pankowskiorum Engel, McKellar, & Huber, new species. This species represents the fourth genus from Baltic amber whose extant species now occur only in southeastern Asia, Australia, and Madagascar.

A fossil species of the primitive mymarid genus Borneomymar (Hymenoptera: Mymaridae) in Eocene Baltic amber

Michael S. Engel, Ryan C. McKellar & John T. Huber. Novitates Paleoentomologicae No. 5, pp. 1–8 6 December 2013 (Open Access)


Insects who fly on Wings of a Feather!

Fairyflies are the smallest insects in the world. They’re wasps who lay their eggs inside the eggs of other insects, providing their young with food.

Feather-winged Beetles are the tiniest beetles. They eat fungus and their miniature wingcases hide their splendid feather-wings.

Thrips are another tiny insect who use their piercing mouthparts to suck out the innards of plants, pollen and fungal spores.

Finally a Many-plumed Moth! Each wing is transformed into a whole collection of tiny feathers, adding up to about 20 in total.

I guess birds are just inefficient..

Bug Stats:  Smallest Insect

The cutely named Fairyflyis a type of parasitic wasp that is so small it can only properly be seen under a microscope. 

*more info- “Based on overall length, the smallest adult insect is a parasitic wasp, Dicopomorpha echmepterygis (Hymenoptera: Mymaridae). Males of this species are blind and wingless and measure only 139 µm in length. This newly described species recently replaced Megaphragma caribea (Hymenoptera: Trichogrammatidae), which measures 170 µm, as the smallest adult insect.”-site


Dicopomorpha echmepterygis

…is a very small species of fairyfly (a family of parasitic wasps) that is endemic to Costa Rica. Like other fairyflies D. echmepterygis is a parasitoid, and parasitises the eggs of a barklouse Echmepteryx hageni. Adults will mate inside their eggs and will die without ever leaving the egg.

Male D. echmepterygis are the smallest known species of insects reaching an astoundingly small length of 139μm (0.139 mm). Which is smaller than some paramecium! Females are 40% larger and like the males they are blind and wingless.


Animalia-Arthropoda-Insecta-Hymenoptera-Apocrita-Chalcidoidea-Mymaridae-Dicopomorpha-D. echmepterygis

Images: John S. Noyes and Unkown

This is a fairy wasp, alongside an amoeba and a paramecium.

Fairy wasps shrink to the size of amoeba by sacrificing their neurons.

Fairy wasps are some of the tiniest creatures on Earth, an entire insect roughly the size of a single-celled organism like an amoeba. That means their individual cells must be incredibly tiny…and that requires losing much of their nervous system.

The fairy wasp, otherwise known as the fairyfly, is a parasitic insect that can measure as little as 200 micrometers long, making it roughly the size of unicellular organisms like amoebas or paramecia. Of course, this insect isn’t a one-celled organism, which means its thousands of individual cells have to be shrunk down to unbelievably small sizes.

The fairy wasp’s tininess has its uses - it’s able to avoid most predators and invade other insects’ eggs undetected. But there’s a pretty hefty trade-off for the creatures’ biology, according to new research from Alexey A. Polilov of Russia’s Lomonosov Moscow State University. He discovered that as much as 95% of neurons in adult fairy wasps don’t have a nucleus.

That’s surprising, considering a nucleus is generally considered a pretty crucial part of a cell, particularly since it contains the cell’s genetic material. And while baby fairy wasps do feature a full set of nuclei in their neurons, they lose them as they grow older.

This sacrifice is apparently what allows fairy wasps to remain so ridiculously tiny, and losing so many seemingly crucial nuclei doesn’t actually matter all that much, considering fairy wasps are still able to do all their complicated behaviors, like flying around and invading other eggs. It almost makes you wonder why us bigger species still bother with all these cellular extravagances… you know, like fully functioning neurons.


Video from David Attenborough