Discovery of World’s Smallest Flying Insect in India: Biodiversity Implications

Discovery of World’s Smallest Flying Insect in India: Biodiversity Implications

Question : India has recently joined a club of countries known to be the home of the world’s smallest flying insect. Discuss the biodiversity implications of this discovery.

Entomologists have found that India is part of a unique set of countries home to the world’s smallest flying insect a fairy-fly named Kikiki Huna

- The insect was discovered in Yercaud and Chidamabaram in TN

- Measuring just 0.16 mm, this multicellular organism is smaller in size than many single celled organisms

- This insect was first discovered in Trinidad around 20 years ago and then in Hawaii

- It is also found in Argentina and Australia

- It derives its name from Hawaiian for “tiny bit”

- The Kikiki Huna has a brain, nervous system and digestive system

- Like other fairy-flies, Kikiki Huna lays its eggs in eggs of other insects

- Entire life stage is passed as a single egg from which it emerges as an adult

- The discovery of this rare species in India points to its rich and unique biodiversity

- The need for greater research and conservation are also stressed

- The continued survival of these creatures within the borders of India is a matter of national pride

- Over one lakh species of insects in India remain to be identified and each also has a role to play in the ecosystem

Facts and Stats

Some of the other fauna known for their small physiques:

- Smallest primate: The world’s smallest primate could be the pygmy tarsier which can fit inside a person’s fist and weighs a mere 57 grams

- Mouse lemurs have total length of less than 27 cm and could also qualify as the smallest primates

Smallest Vertebrate: This is a frog know as Paedophryne amanuensis and it measures 0.3 of an inch

- It was discovered in the year 2009 in Papua New Guinea

Smallest Mammal: A threatened native of Burma and Thailand, the hog nosed or bumblebee bat is the smallest mammal in the world weighing less than 2 grams and measuring 1.1 to 1.3 inches

Smallest Bird - This is the Mellisuga helenae or the bee hummingbird which lives in Cuba, weighs less than 2 grams and measures 2 to 2.4 inches
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