A new type of fly has broken the record for the world’s smallest fly species and dines off ant brains to survive. The Euryplatea nanaknihali is barely visible to the human eye even when viewed by a powerful microscope, The Blaze reports. It is not only the fly’s record breaking .4 millimeter size which bolstered the insect to immediate fame, its parasitic nature also has scientists buzzing, The Blaze reports. In its larval form the world’s smallest fly lives off the brains of ants.
National History Museum of Los Angeles staffer Brian Brown identified the fly and noted in the Annals of the Entomological Society of America that even miniscule .5 millimeters ants are not likely safe from the new fly species. Brown notes that prior assumptions that smaller species of ants could not be attacked by flies smaller than 3 millimeters because they could not develop inside a tiny ant’s head are likely incorrect. “Here we show that even the smallest host ants in a host-parasitoid system cannot escape parasitism,” Brown noted in the science Entomological Society of America article.
Live Science reports that a female of the newly established world’s smallest fly species is being studied by the Thailand Inventory Group for Entomological Research at Kaeng Krachan National Park. The fly was recently found in the same region of Asia. Thailand scientists note that the miniature fly has gray wings and the female possesses a pointed“egg-depositing organ” which makes it possible for her to lay eggs inside another insect.
Although the Euryplatea nanaknihali is now known as the world’s smallest fly, it is not the smallest known insect. That particular distinction belongs to the fairy wasp which is .14 millimeters long, approximately the same size as a human egg cell, The Blaze reports.