It's a funny thing about insects, they always evoke out-sized responses from humans; either sighs of delight at the sight of a beautiful butterfly or screams of terror at the scuttling of a cockroach. Love them or hate them, bugs are everywhere. Some are so tiny that they are "essentially invisible to the human eye." Many of them have adorable names like the Tinkerbella Wasp, but little is known about these minute insects because they are so small, it makes them hard to see and to study. Here are a few of the teeniest tiniest insects found around the world.
1. Western Pygmy Blue Butterfly - Prehistoric fossils suggest that butterflies have been around for 200 million years. The earliest butterflies fluttered about at the time of dinosaur, even before there were pollen-rich flowers for them to feast on. The tiny western pygmy can be found throughout North America, as far west as Hawaii. It is also found in the Middle East. The wingspan of this tiny insect can be as little as 12 mm (0.47 inches). The similar eastern pygmy is found along the Atlantic coast.
2. The Patu Digua Spider - Hard to spot, the male of this species grow to be only a third of a millimeter in size...smaller than the head of a pin. These little guys are found in northern Columbia. But they aren't even the smallest arachnids. Those would be the Anapistula caecula of West Africa. they reach a size of about 100th of an inch!
3. Scarlet Dwarf Dragonfly - When it comes to insects, dragonflies are among the largest flying ones. The dragonfly's prehistoric ancestors were some of the largest insects ever known with a wing span of 70 centimeters...25 .5 inches! The Scarlet Dwarf Dragonfly, found in Souteast Asia to China and Japan, Once in while, it can be found as far away as Australia. Unlike his ancestors, this little dragonfly has a wingspan of only 20 millimeters, or roughly three-quarters of an inch.
4. Bolbe Pygmaea Mantis - Mantises are the one insect that has a special relationship with humans. "The ancient Greeks considered the mantis to have supernatural powers and they’ve been deified in ancient Egyptian texts. The Chinese, in particular, have a certain fondness and reverence for an insect that ancient poems described as a symbol of courage and fearlessness." There are more than 2,400 species of Mantodea. The largest reach a height of 3.5 inches upright (8.9 centimeters). The smallest, the Bolbe Pygmaea Mantis, however, reaches a length of only 1 centimeter (0.4 inches). Australia is home to these tiny mantises.
5. Microtityus Minimus Scorpion - Scorpions are often thought of as one of the fiercest and lethal of all insects. They've been known to fight, and defeat, giant spiders. Their predatory prowess has evolved over more than 430 million years. But only 25 species of scorpions produce poisonous venom. The world's tinest scorpion was only discovered a few years ago, in 2014 by researchers on the Greater Antilles Island of Hispaniola and in the Dominican Republic. One of these adult tiny scorpions measures only 11 centimeters in length (0.433 inches). While I wouldn't go so far as to call them cute, they do look a lot less intimidating than their full-size relatives.
6. The Fairyfly Wasp - The world's smallest insect belongs to the fairyfly or fairy wasp family. Fairyflies can be found all over the world and thrive in a variety of different environments and ecosystems from wet rainforests to dry deserts. An Irish entomologist discovered this little cutie in 1833. On average, they grow to only a length of from .5 to 1 millimeter (0.019 to 0.04 inches).
So while I didn't get to enjoy any of these "gourmet treats" this weekend, I did have fun learning about the tiny insects that some of my relatives in distant lands might be enjoying for their lunch. I hope you found it fun and educational, as well. Come back tomorrow! Until then, I wish you all a beautiful Monday filled with