The smallest insects in the world

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When it comes to insects my personal opinion is that the bigger they are, the more I hate them. A large cockroach scuttling across my kitchen floor is a sight bad enough to change my mood for the day. An annoying moth constantly attacking my light fixture is a distraction that I can do without. Of course, I don’t like small ants or mosquitos either. These nuisances are harder to detect due to their size and stealthy nature. In many ways then size doesn’t matter when it comes to insects. However, when you learn about the smallest insects in the world your opinion may change. 

Sometimes insects are beautiful too. The butterfly is everyone’s favorite insect. While most people hate moths we seem to all be fans of butterflies. Talk about judging something by its appearance alone. The world’s smallest butterfly is incredibly cute though. The pygmy blue butterfly measures a wingspan of around 12 mm. It has a dull blue wing color with dark brown at the extremities and is found in forests near the Atlantic sea. This is one small creature I have no issue with.

Another insect that I am a little fond of, is the dragonfly. These incredible insects are beautiful to watch flying, their bright colors, and strange shape make them a pleasure to see in the sky.  Dragonflies are known for being one of the largest flying bugs but there is one breed that is terrifically small. The scarlet dwarf has a wingspan of only 20mm and could happily sit on top of your finger. In comparison, today’s largest dragonfly has a wingspan of 20cm (although nothing compared to the fossils of a prehistoric dragonfly that was found to have a wingspan of over 70cm!).

The mantis is one insect that has ha a special relationship with humans since they were discovered. Again a beautiful creature that most people don’t mind spotting in their home the mantis’ unique shape gives it a free pass in my world. The ancient Greeks, Egyptians, and Chinese all held a special place for the mantis. Some considered it a God, others thought it supernatural powers, while others wrote poems of its courage and bravery. The mantis comes in all different shapes and sizes with the largest found standing at about 3.5 inches. However, there are much smaller too. In Australia, you can find a mantis that is 1cm in length.

One insect that I do not like and I believe it is a rational decision is a scorpion. The scorpion is one of the most lethal insects on our planet. They have strong claws, stingers filled with venom, and strong armor on their bodies. They are battle-hardened warriors. However, the world’s tiniest scorpion is anything but scary. The little guy grows to the full size of 11 mm in length and packs no punch at all. It is native to the Dominican Republic.

Mosquitos are without a doubt my least favorite insect and rightly so. At best when they bite you they leave an annoying itch, at worst they leave disease and death. The mosquito is one of the leading killers with the WHO estimating 1 million deaths every year are a result of a mosquito. They have evolved to be horrible things. They have a flying technique that makes them difficult to detect when they choose. Luckily the smallest mosquito has no interest in humans. The Uranotaenia is only 2.5 mm long but is only interested in feeding on frogs, thankfully.

The world’s smallest insect though is the firefly wasp. It ranges from .139 to 1 mm in length and can be found all over the world. Some varieties are so small that they have no wings, no eyes, and are almost impossible to spot by the human eye. Luckily they mean no harm to us but I still wouldn’t want to find one in cereal.