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Temporal range: Oligocene–Recent
Ptenidium pusillum (Gyllenhal, 1808) (3232041856).jpg
Ptenidium pusillum
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Superfamily: Staphylinoidea
Family: Ptiliidae
Heer, 1843
  • Trichopterygidae Erichson, 1845

Ptiliidae is a family of very tiny beetles with a cosmopolitan distribution. This family contains the smallest of all beetles,[1] with a length when fully grown of 0.3–4.0 millimetres (0.01–0.16 in).[2] The weight is approximately 0.4 milligrams.[3] They are colloquially called featherwing beetles, because the hindwings are narrow and feathery.[2] 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.[1] Parthenogenesis is exhibited by several species.[1]

There are around 600 described species in 80 genera,[2] but large numbers of specimens in collections await description and the true number of species is likely to be much higher than this.[1] Fossil ptiliids have been recorded from the Oligocene, roughly 30 million years ago.[2] The family is divided into 3 subfamilies:[2]


  1. ^ a b c d Henry S. Dybas (2000). "Featherwing beetles". DPI Entomology Circular 218. University of Florida. EENY-177. Retrieved October 22, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e 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. 
  3. ^ "Insects: Beetle". San Diego Zoo. 2008. Retrieved July 20, 2008. 

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