Pilbara Biodiversity Project Ptiliidae msp. pilb-01 Click to enlarge image
Featherwing Beetle. CBCR Pilbara Biodiversity Project Coleoptera voucher specimens Image: Scott Ginn
© Australian Museum

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Genus
    Ptinella
    Family
    Ptiliidae
    Super Family
    Staphylinoidea
    Suborder
    Polyphaga
    Order
    Coleoptera
    Class
    Insecta
    Subphylum
    Uniramia
    Phylum
    Arthopoda
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    0.4 mm - 1 mm

Introduction

The feather-winged beetles are the smallest of all beetles and possibly of all insects.

Identification

Feather-winged beetles are distinguished by their feather-like wings.

Habitat

Feather-winged beetles live in forests and woodlands and heath.

Distribution

Feather-winged beetles are found in eastern Australia.

Feeding and diet

Most species of feather-winged beetles feed on fungi.

Other behaviours and adaptations

Some feather-winged beetles are blind and most live under bark in forests and woodland. Not surprisingly they go unnoticed.

Danger to humans

Tiny beetles like this are usually the cause of cyclists' 'fly-in-the-eye' condition. Most flies have no problems avoiding humans but some slow-flying beetles get caught. Cyclists sometimes get them stuck in their eyes, especially in the evening when most beetle dispersal occurs.