Phylogenetic relationships of parasitic psocodea and taxonomic position of the Anoplura

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:1978
Authors:K. Chung Kim, Ludwig H. Wolfgang
Journal:Annals of the Entomological Society of America
Pagination:910 - 922
Date Published:1978
Keywords:Anoplura, atax, classification, evolution, Psocoptera

The phylogenetic relationships of five taxa of the Psocodea (Psocoptera, Amblycera, Ischnocera, Rhynchophthirina, and Anoplura) are analysed cladistically. Fourteen character complexes including taxonomic characters used by previous workers were evaluated, and 21 characters were used for cladistic analysis. Theoretical aspects of phylogenetic inferences on the origin of higher taxa, monophyly and parallelism, and character polarity and weighting are discussed, and character selection and cladistic analysis are made on the basis of these theoretical premises. Extant higher taxa of the Psocodea are derived from a common ancestral stock. Similarities between Anoplura and other parasitic psocodean taxa are primarily the result of parallel evolution due to similar habits and adaptive roles. Primitive psocodean ancestors invaded new habitats (skin surface and dermal derivitives of birds and mammals) and niches, perhaps during the late Triassic and Jurassic periods. The Anoplura must have been seperated from the main psocodean line quite early in evolutionary time. Its now quite probable that Protoanoplura made two major evolutionary shifts: (1) the invasion of a new habitat, perhaps between the Jurasic and Cretaceous periods; and (2) the development of a new food source (the blood) after the Cretaceous period. Once established on the mammalian hosts, the Protoanoplura evolved rapidly and aquired key characters. We conclude that the sucking lice (Anoplura) are distinct from the chewing lice and should retain their rank order. Likewise, the order Mallophaga (including three suborders, Amblycera, Ischnocera, and Rhyncopthirina) must be retained. A key to the orders and suborders of the Psocodea is presented.

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