Dicopomorpha echmepterygis

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Dicopomorpha echmepterygis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Suborder: Apocrita
Superfamily: Chalcidoidea
Family: Mymaridae
Genus: Dicopomorpha
Ogloblin, 1955
Species: D. echmepterygis
Binomial name
Dicopomorpha echmepterygis
Mockford, 1997

Dicopomorpha echmepterygis is a species of parasitic wasp in the family Mymaridae, which exhibits strong sexual dimorphism. The males are blind, apterous, and their body length is only 40% that of females. With a body length averaging 186 μm (for 8 specimens measured, which ranged from 139 to 240 μm), males of D. echmepterygis have the shortest body length of all known insects (smaller than certain species of Paramecium and amoeba, which are single-celled organisms). The measured body length of a female was 550 μm. [1] The eggs and larvae of this parasitoid are considerably smaller than the adult.

Dicopomorpha echmepterygis male

This species from Costa Rica is an idiobiont parasitoid of the eggs of a lepidopsocid barklouse, Echmepteryx hageni. Of five host eggs dissected, four contained one male and one female, the fifth one contained three males and one female. Adult males appear to mate with their sisters inside the host egg and die without ever leaving the egg. Similar life histories can be found with other species of Chalcidoidea, such as Prestwichia aquatica, which mate within the host egg, fig wasps in the family Agaonidae, which exhibit similar sexual dimorphism and mate within the host fig, and mites in the genus Adactylidium, which mate inside the body of the mother before they are born.


  • Mockford, E.L. (1997) A new species of Dicopomorpha (Hymenoptera: Mymaridae) with diminutive, apterous males. Ann. Ent. Soc. America 90: 115-120.