lizbrownlee – poet

Poems, animal info, extraordinary women, my books!

Fairy fly


Fairy flies are in fact tiny parasitic wasps, the tiniest insects discovered. This one, which lives in India, measures only 0.2mm across its wings. Fairy flies lay their eggs inside the eggs of larger insects. The wasp egg hatches into a larva, which eats the host egg before it has a chance to develop. Then the larva pupates inside the empty eggshell, and turns into a fairy fly. Fairy flies are so light, they are carried by the slightest movement of air. These tiny wasps help control the populations of insects on which they live. Any problem that endangers their host insect will endanger them.


Illustration © Liz Brownlee

George McGavin looks at common wasp architecture: BBC.


  1. Lovely stuff. Would we call them cute though?


    • Ooooh, Edward – I would! (And did!) But then I do have strange tastes in animals. They have little feather wings, unlike any others in the insect world, and can fly just as well through water as air. I love the fact that they are there, even though no-one can see them – doing no harm, and a lot of good, just like a real fairy should!


  2. That’s seriously small! I wish the wasp that stung me last week had been small. Our daughter’s lorikeet is boarding with us and as he’s a fruit, nectar and jam eater the &*^%$ wasps are always flocking around his cage and drowning in his water dish. Oh, and stinging me for a little light recreation. Love the fairy fly pome though.


    • Thank you Sally! Sorry to hear about your sting. Are Australian wasps’ stings worse than ours, I wonder?


  3. Liz

    Oz wasps have to be strong to get past the cork barrier!


  4. They sound rather sweet – considering they eat babies!


    • I agree! And without them, we would be overwhelmed with flies and insects of all sorts…


  5. snowbirdpress

    I discovered a variation on my tomato plants last year. I found their cocoons and marveled at the silk that they had spun. There was a cluster of these little white silk purse … tiny but such intricately woven… something in this old world must love them very much to make something so beautiful.


  6. snowbirdpress

    Typo…that should read “purses” There were about a dozen tiny cocoons all in a line. Some clusters had double lines.


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