The Smallest Flying Insect (Kikiki huna)
Previously, I wrote an article about the smallest insect known to exist Dicopomorpha echmepterygis. This species of fairyfly is similar to that one but is the smallest insect to still be able to fly. This genus, similar to their sister genus Tinkerbella, is fascinating in its own right. Despite the lack of information on this species, let's see what is available to learn more about this tiny flying wasp.
Physical Description and Behavior
From the information I was able to find, females tend to range from 158-190μm, but the size of males is still a mystery due to very few of them being studied. There is a measurement of a single male specimen from Australia that was 235μm. That said, there is not enough data to determine if this is due to sexual dimorphism.
Fun fact: Their small size is due to a variety of adaptations that reduced the overall parts that these insects use. For instance, their antenna is only in 4 segments, their bodies are only 3 segments, and very loosely bristled wings. This is believed to be the smallest an insect can get while still retaining the ability to fly.
The females have wings that are slightly longer than the wasp itself is. There are 4 wings altogether, 2 forewings, and 2 hindwings. The forewings are about 4 times winder than the hindwings and look like feathers. These are used to sort of paddle through the air due to air behaving as a fluid if you are small enough.
Habitat and Location
This genus can be found in Costa Rica, the Hawaiian Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, Argentina, and India. They probably got around by hitching rides on the boats of traders. Their name, Kikiki huna originated in Hawaii, with both words meaning some variation of "small" or "tiny."
If you want to see a size comparison of fairyflies to other organisms, watch the video below!