Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Clickable Guide
Moths Butterflies Flies Caterpillars Flies Dragonflies Flies Mantids Cockroaches Bees and Wasps Walkingsticks Earwigs Ants Termites Hoppers and Kin Hoppers and Kin Beetles True Bugs Fleas Grasshoppers and Kin Ticks Spiders Scorpions Centipedes Millipedes


TaxonomyBrowse
Info
ImagesLinksBooksData

Family Ptiliidae - Featherwing[ed] Beetles

sub-1mm beetle - Acrotrichis tiny ptiliid - Acrotrichis Featherwinged Beetle? - Ptinella Micridium sp. - Micridium Limulodes paradoxus Featherwinged Beetle - Acrotrichis Featherwing - Acrotrichis Tiny Beetle - Acrotrichis
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Coleoptera (Beetles)
Suborder Polyphaga (Water, Rove, Scarab, Long-horned, Leaf and Snout Beetles)
Superfamily Staphylinoidea (Rove, Carrion and Fungus Beetles)
Family Ptiliidae (Featherwing[ed] Beetles)
Pronunciation
till EE ih dee
Explanation of Names
Greek ptilon 'feather' (refers to the feather-like hind wings)
Numbers
ca. 120 spp. in 27 genera in our area, 550 described spp. in ~70 genera worldwide; significant numbers of undescribed taxa have been collected(1)(2)
Overview of our fauna:
Family PTILIIDAE
Taxa not yet in the guide are marked (*); classification follows(3)
Subfamily Acrotrichinae
Subfamily Ptiliinae
Size
the smallest known beetles, most species being under 1 mm, and the smallest known being 0.35 mm
Identification
minute size, hindwings with feathery filamentous fringe of hairs (usually hidden beneath elytra in live individuals, and often protruding beyond elytra in pinned museum specimens)
Many species exhibit striking polymorphism, in which each sex is represented by two forms(4):
1. a normal morph with well-developed eyes, wings, and body pigmentation
2. a vestigial morph in which eyes, wings, and body pigmentation are reduced or lacking
The vestigial morph is the more abundant form, comprising 90% or more of all individuals
Range
Widely distributed in temperate and tropical regions of the world
Habitat
moist organic materials, incl. leaf-litter, decaying wood, compost, treeholes, fungi, seaweed, dung, under bark, etc.(4)
Season
throughout the year
Food
larvae and adults feed on molds and fungi
Life Cycle
Reproduction occurs continuously under favorable conditions; larvae often are found together with both teneral and fully-hardened adults at different times of the year; only a single egg (nearly half the female body length) is accommodated and matured in the abdomen at a time. Many spp. produce females from unfertilized eggs (thelytokous parthenogenesis), in which case populations may be female-only(4)