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Superregnum: Eukaryota
Cladus: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Cladus: Holozoa
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Protostomia
Cladus: Ecdysozoa
Cladus: Panarthropoda
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Hexapoda
Classis: Insecta
Cladus: Dicondylia
Subclassis: Pterygota
Cladus: Metapterygota
Infraclassis: Neoptera
Cladus: Eumetabola
Cladus: Endopterygota
Superordo: Coleopterida
Ordo: Coleoptera
Subordo: Polyphaga
Infraordo: Staphyliniformia
Superfamilia: Staphylinoidea

Familia: Ptiliidae
Subfamiliae (3): Acrotrichinae - Cephaloplectinae - Ptiliinae

Overview of genera (98)

Acrotrichis – Actidium – Actinopteryx – Africoptilium – Astatopteryx – Babrama – Baeocrara – Bambara – Baranowskiella – Bicavella – Cephaloplectus – Chaska – Championella – Chirostirca – Cissidium – Cochliarion – Cylindrosella – Cylindroselloides – Dacrysoma – Dipentium – Discheramocephalus – Dybasina – Erro – EtroniaEulimulodes – Euryptilium – Fenestellidium – Fijisella – Fijiselloides – Garicaphila – Gomyella – Greensladella – Hydnosella – Isolumpia – Kimoda – Kuschelidium – Leaduadicus – Leptinla – Limulodes – Limulopteryx – Limulosella – Malkinella – Micridina – Micridium – Microptilium – Microtrichis – Mikado – Millidium – Motschulskium – Myrmicotrichis – Nanosella – Nellosana – Nellosanoides – Neotrichopteryx – Nepalumpia – Nephanes – Nossidium – Notoptenidium – Oligella – Paralimulodes – Paratuposa – Petrotrichis – Phililumpia – Phytotelmatrichis – Porophila – Primorskiella – Ptenidium – Ptenidotonium – Pterycodes – Pteryx – Ptiliodes – Ptiliola – Ptiliolum – Ptiliopycna – Ptilium – Ptinella – Ptinellodes – Pycnopteryx – Rioneta – Rodwayia – Scydosella – Scydoselloides – Seminis – Sikhotelumpia – Sindosium – Skidmorella – Smicrus – Storicricha – Suterina – Tasmangarica – Throscidium – Throscoptilium – Throscoptiloides – Throscosana – Urotriainus – Ussurilumpia – Vitusella – Xenopteryx

Ptiliidae Heer, 1843
Type genus: Ptilium Gyllenhal, 1827


Trichopterygidae Erichson, 1845
Type genus: Trichopteryx Kirby in Kirby & Spence, 1826 [=Acrotrichis Motschulsky, 1848]


Biström, O. & Silfverberg, H. 1979. The type species of the European genera of Ptiliidae (Coleoptera). Annales Entomologici Fennici 45(1): 12–15. Google books (snippet view) Reference page.
Csiki, E. 1911: Hydroscaphidae, Ptiliidae. Coleopterorum catalogus, 32: 1–61.
Darby, M. 2016. New species and records of Costa Rican featherwing beetles (Coleoptera:Ptiliidae). Zootaxa 4184(1): 41–51. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4184.1.2. Reference page.
Darby, M. 2017. Erro gen. n. a new genus of featherwing beetles (Coleoptera: Ptiliidae) from Angola and Madagascar. Zootaxa 4299(1): 137–140. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4299.1.10. Reference page.
Grebennikov, V.V.; Beutel, R.G. 2002: Morphology of the minute larva of Ptinella tenella, with special reference to effects of miniaturisation and the systematic position of Ptiliidae (Coleoptera: Staphylinoidea). Arthropod structure & development, 31: 157–172. DOI: 10.1016/S1467-8039(02)00022-1 PDF
Hall, W.E. 2005. 11.2 Ptiliidae Erichson, 1845. Pp. 251–261 in: Beutel, R.G. & Leschen, R.A.B. (volume eds.), Coleoptera, beetles. Volume 1: Morphology and systematics (Archostemata, Adephaga, Myxophaga, Polyphaga partim). In: Kristensen, N.P. & Beutel, R.G. (eds.) Handbook of zoology. A natural history of the phyla of the animal kingdom. Volume IV. Arthropoda: Insecta. Part 38. Berlin, New York: Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 3-11-017130-9. DOI for chapter 11: DOI: 10.1515/9783110904550.223 Reference page.
Löbl, I.; Löbl, D. (eds.) 2015: Hydrophiloidea-Staphylinoidea. Catalogue of Palaearctic Coleoptera, (2). Two volume set. Google books Reference page. [See p. 162]
Majka, C.G.; Sörensson, M. 2007: Ptiliidae of the Maritime Provinces of Canada (Coleoptera): new records and bionomic notes. Zootaxa 1423: 27–38. Abstract & excerpt Reference page.
Polilov, A.A. 2008: An introduction to the Ptiliidae (Coleoptera) of Primorskiy region with descriptions of three new genera, new and little known species. Russian entomological journal, 17: 149–176. [in Russian, with English summary] PDF
Shockley, F.W.; Greenwalt, D. 2013: Ptenidium kishenehnicum (Coleoptera: Ptiliidae), a new fossil described from the Kishenehn oil shales, with a checklist of previously known fossil ptiliids. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington 115(2): 173-181. DOI: 10.4289/0013-8797.115.2.173 Reference page.
Vorst, O. 2007: Notes on Dutch Ptiliidae (Coleoptera). Nederlandse Faunistische Mededelingen 27: 71-84. abstract and full article (PDF) Reference page.

Atlas of the family Ptiliidae of Russia

Vernacular names
čeština: Pírníkovití
Deutsch: Zwergkäfer
English: Feather-wing Beetles
français: Ptilie
lietuvių: Plunksnasparniai
norsk: Fjærvingebiller
polski: Piórkoskrzydłe
русский: Перокрылки

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]

The small size has forced many species to sacrifice some of their anatomy, like the heart, crop, and gizzard. While the exoskeleton and respiration system of the insects seems to be the major limiting factors regarding how large they can get, the limit for how small they can become appears to be related to the space required for their nervous and reproductive systems.[4]
Ptiliidae figures 1-9 note the feathered wings

There are approximately 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] from the Eocene, 46.2–43.5 million years ago, and from the Cretaceous Lebanese and Burmese amber, dated to 125 and 99 million years ago, respectively.[5] The family is divided into 3 subfamilies:[2]

Discussion of how their distinctive wing anatomy affects the speed of their flight was researched and discussed in scientific journals in 2022.[6]



Henry S. Dybas (2000). "Featherwing beetles". DPI Entomology Circular. 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 (ed.). 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.
World’s Smallest Insect Pays a Hefty Price for its Size
Floyd W. Shockley; Dale Greenwalt (2013). "Ptenidium kishenehnicum (Coleoptera: Ptiliidae), a New Fossil Described from the Kishenehn Oil Shales, with a Checklist of Previously Known Fossil Ptiliids". Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington. 115 (2): 173–181. doi:10.4289/0013-8797.115.2.173.
Choi, Charles Q., Feathery Wings Help Explain a Miniature Beetle's Speedy Flight, American Physical Society, Inside Science, Wednesday, January 19, 2022

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