Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Tinkerbella nana: A new representative from the world of fairyflies

Date:
April 24, 2013
Source:
Pensoft Publishers
Summary:
A new genus and species of fairyfly, Tinkerbella nana (Mymaridae), is described from Costa Rica. It is compared with the related species Kikiki huna Beardsley and Huber, which holds the record for the smallest winged insect. The new genus and species is named after the fairy Tinker Bell in the 1904 play "Peter Pan" by J. M. Barrie.

This image shows a female Tinkerbella nana. The Scale line = 100 μm.
Credit: John T. Huber

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 μm, and the smallest known adult insect -- the wingless male of Dicopomorpha echmepterygis which is only 130 μm. 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.

All but two known fairyfly species are parasitoids of eggs of other insects. These eggs are commonly laid in concealed locations, such as in plant tissues or in leaf litter or soil and are difficult to find, so for the most part the host insects of fairyflies are unknown. Specimens of the new species Tinkerbella nana were collected at the La Selva Biological Station, a lowland rainforest research and education facility owned and managed by the Organization for Tropical Studies, located in the province of Heredia, Costa Rica. They were collected by sweeping in fairly young (no more than 20 years old) secondary forest mixed with a primary forest. All the specimens collected were below 250 μm in length. The reduced wing surface and relatively long setae of fairyflies and many other minute flying insects likely have an aerodynamic function, perhaps to reduce turbulence and hence drag on a wing flapping at several hundred beats per second. The study of the new species was published in the open access journal Journal of Hymenoptera Research.

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.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Pensoft Publishers. The original story is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. John Huber, John Noyes. A new genus and species of fairyfly, Tinkerbella nana (Hymenoptera, Mymaridae), with comments on its sister genus Kikiki, and discussion on small size limits in arthropods. Journal of Hymenoptera Research, 2013; 32 (0): 17 DOI: 10.3897/JHR.32.4663

Cite This Page:

Pensoft Publishers. "Tinkerbella nana: A new representative from the world of fairyflies." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130424103050.htm>.
Pensoft Publishers. (2013, April 24). Tinkerbella nana: A new representative from the world of fairyflies. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130424103050.htm
Pensoft Publishers. "Tinkerbella nana: A new representative from the world of fairyflies." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130424103050.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Newsy (July 28, 2014) The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck at the worst time for them. A new study says that if it hit earlier or later, they might've survived. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Newsy (July 27, 2014) The satellite is back under ground control after a tense few days, but with a gecko sex experiment on board, the media just couldn't help themselves. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins