Sunday, November 1, 2015
SUNDAY SCIENCE BLOG
Scientist Discovers The World's Smallest Free-Living InsectThe featherwing beetle measures just 0.325 millimeters.
A Russian scientist says he’s discovered the world’s smallest free-living insect -- and the critter sure is tiny.
Alexey Polilov, a professor at Lomonosov Moscow State University, gave the title to Scydosella musawasensis, or the featherwing beetle, after studying the creature using specialized software and digital micrographs.
Polilov determined that the minuscule bug measures just 0.325 millimeters (or approximately 0.013 inches) in length. To compare, that's about one-sixth the size of the very small Pharaoh ant.
Why the World Is Inordinately Fond of Beetles
British scientist J.B.S. Haldane's quote on beetles:
"...in Haldane's 1949 book What is Life? The Layman's View of Nature, p. 248:
The Creator would appear as endowed with a passion for stars, on the one hand, and for beetles on the other, for the simple reason that there are nearly 300,000 species of beetle known, and perhaps more, as compared with somewhat less than 9,000 species of birds and a little over 10,000 species of mammals. Beetles are actually more numerous than the species of any other insect order. That kind of thing is characteristic of nature.
Also from Haldane:
My practice as a scientist is atheistic.
That is to say, when I set up an experiment I assume that no god, angel, or devil is going to interfere with its course; and this assumption has been justified by such success as I have achieved in my professional career. I should therefore be intellectually dishonest if I were not also atheistic in the affairs of the world.