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Tinkerbell Fairyfly

Photo: John T. Huber

Fairyflies - a type of chalcid wasp that live on the eggs and larvae of other insects - are pretty small. They're about the diameter of the tip of fine drawing pen, which makes them almost impossible to find.

But not to John Huber of Natural Resources Canada and colleagues! They've discovered a new species of the fairyfly that's just 250 micrometer (0.01 inches) long, and named it after Tinkerbell:

A new species of tiny fly named after the fairy in "Peter Pan" is mind-blowingly miniscule, with delicate wings trimmed in fringe.

Tinkerbella nana is a newly discovered species of fairyfly from Costa Rica. [...]

Under the microscope, these teeny-tiny insects reveal fine detail, particularly their long, skinny wings, which terminate in hairlike fringe. This wing shape may help ultra-small insects reduce turbulence and drag when they fly, a feat that requires beating their wings hundreds of times per second.

Researchers don't know how small insects can get, Huber said.


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