Temporal range: Oligocene–Recent
Ptiliidae is a family of very tiny beetles with a cosmopolitan distribution. This family contains the smallest of all beetles, with a length when fully grown of 0.3–4.0 millimetres (0.01–0.16 in). The weight is approximately 0.4 milligrams. They are colloquially called featherwing beetles, because the hindwings are narrow and feathery. The eggs are very large in comparison to the adult female (maybe half the length) so only one egg at a time can be developed and laid. Parthenogenesis is exhibited by several species.
There are around 600 described species in 80 genera, but large numbers of specimens in collections await description and the true number of species is likely to be much higher than this. Fossil ptiliids have been recorded from the Oligocene, roughly 30 million years ago. The family is divided into 3 subfamilies:
- Henry S. Dybas (2000). "Featherwing beetles". DPI Entomology Circular 218. University of Florida. EENY-177. Retrieved October 22, 2013.
- Christopher G. Mayka & Mikael Sörensson (2010). "Featherwing beetles (Coleoptera: Ptiliidae)". In Donald F. McAlpine & Ian M. Smith. Assessment of Species Diversity in the Atlantic Maritime Ecozone. NRC Research Press. pp. 433–438. ISBN 9780660198354.
- "Insects: Beetle". San Diego Zoo. 2008. Retrieved July 20, 2008.
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