April 24, 2013
World Of Fairyflies Has A New Representative: Tinkerbella Nana
Mymaridae, commonly known as fairyflies, are one of about 18 families of chalcid wasps. Fairyflies occur worldwide, except in Antarctica. They include the world's smallest known winged insect - Kikiki huna, the body length of which is only 155 Î¼m, and the smallest known adult insect — the wingless male of Dicopomorpha echmepterygis which is only 130 Î¼m. Although fairyflies are among the most common chalcid wasps, they are seldomly noticed by humans because of their minute size. Their apparent invisibility, gracile bodies and delicate wings with long fringes resembling the mythical fairies have earned them their common name.
Almost 2000 years ago, Pliny the Elder (ca. 23 A.D.) stated "Rerum natura nusquam magis quam in minimis tota est" loosely translated as "Nature is nowhere as great as in its smallest." Lacking any means of magnification, he could not possibly have seen the intricate structure and beauty of fairyflies or other minute organisms. But his statement certainly holds true.
"If something is physically possible in living things, some individuals of at least one species, extinct or extant, will likely have achieved it. So the lower size limit, by whatever measure of size is chosen, was almost certainly already evolved–somewhere, sometime. If we have not already found them, we must surely be close to discovering the smallest insects and other arthropods", says the lead author, John Huber from Natural Resources Canada.
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