OBJECT OF THE MONTH - September, 2005

Feather-winged beetle (Acrotrichis sp. Family Ptiliidae)

Feather-winged beetle (Acrotrichis, sp. Family Ptiliidae), UCM #0002603.

The smallest beetle known to science. How do you find something you can hardly see?

Barely visible to the naked eye, this is a complete beetle with wings, eyes and unique feathery hind wings. The University of Colorado Museum of Natural History currently houses the second largest collection of Ptiliidae in the U.S. They are actively studied by Invertebrate Zoology Collection Manager, Gene Hall. This specimen was captured in Eldorado Canyon State Park in 1996. Living feather-winged beetles breath, feed and reproduce just like their larger cousins; life in miniature.
Learn more about this tiny beetle and other objects at the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History's exhibit webpage for Object Conversations.