• Susan Modupe Garland

How the smallest bugs make the biggest impact

Polilov determined that the minuscule bug measures just 0.325 millimeters (or approximately 0.013 inches) in length. To compare, that’s about one-sixth the size of the very small Pharaoh ant

CREDIT: ALEXEY POLILOV Alexey Polilov used micrographs to accurately measure the beetle’s size.

As Discovery.com notes, there are insects in the world that are even smaller than the featherwing beetle, but they are parasitic (in other words, they rely on its host to survive).

The title of world’s smallest insect is currently held by Dicopomorpha echmepterygis, a kind of fairyfly measuring about 0.139 millimeters. Fairyflies are parasitoids of the eggs of other insects.

The featherwing beetle, on the other hand, is a “free-living” insect, in that it lives independently. According to Nature World News, the beetle generally inhabits “areas with ample amounts of leaf-litter, decaying logs, compost heaps, tree holes, decaying fungi, animal dung or other organic matter.”

The teeny insect is yellowish-brown and has an elongated oval body and a 10-segmented antennae. It was reportedly first found in Nicaragua in 1999, but scientists have been unable to get precise measurements of the creature till now.

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