This Fairyfly Doesn’t Deserve Its Name

fairylandWhen you hear the name fairyfly, you probably expect something beautiful and delicate. But other than its fairyland-like habitat in Costa Rica (above), the new fairyfly species Tinkerbella nana doesn’t seem to have much to do with fairies. Here are the images provided by the scientists as they announced their new discovery in the Journal of Hymenoptera Research:

tinkerbella1

and

tinkerbella2

I don’t know what version of Peter Pan the researchers — from Natural Resources Canada and London’s Natural History Museum — have been watching or reading, but I never envisioned Tinkerbell quite like this.

Fairyflies are some of the world’s smallest insects, and all of the T. nana individuals were smaller than 250 μm in length. It’s pretty amazing that anyone finds them at all, let alone a new species in a dense Costa Rican forest.

Images courtesy of John T. Huber

2 thoughts on “This Fairyfly Doesn’t Deserve Its Name

  1. We’re sorry you don’t think that fairyflies are beautiful and delicate! We certainly do! Certainly delicate is a good word. These wasps are so small that it’s very hard to even place them on slides or glue them on cards because they float away like dust motes. It’s very easy to break off a wing or leg, or in fact squash the whole specimen because they are so delicate.
    And beautiful – they have cute faces, and certainly the lovely fringes on their teeny wings are lovely. Perhaps the cliché is true – beauty is in the eye of the beholder!

    • I’m not creeped out by too many things, but for some reason insects with many parts have recently made the list. I think it might be because my apartment has been invaded too many times.

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