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Superregnum: Eukaryota
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: Paraneoptera
Superordo: Psocodea
Ordo: Phthiraptera
Subordo: Amblycera
Familiae: Boopiidae - Gyropidae - Laemobothriidae - Menoponidae - Ricinidae - Trimenoponidae


Amblycera Kellogg, 1896
Vernacular names
Deutsch: Tierläuse
English: Chewing louse
español: Piojo masticador
português: Malófago, piolho mastigador

The Amblycera are a large suborder of chewing lice, parasitic on both birds and mammals. The Amblycera are considered the most primitive superfamily of lice.


These insects are very much like the familiar advanced sucking lice, except they do not stay on their host permanently. They roam freely over the surface of their host and, unlike other lice, do not form permanent attachments. They feed by chewing soft areas of skin, causing an area of localized bleeding from which they drink.

Species of this subfamily have antennae but they cannot readily be seen because they lie in grooves in the side of the head. Usually the antennae of Amblycera composes 4-5 segments. The maxillary palps may, however, be present and these may be visible in mounted specimens but may be confused with the antennae. Palps of amblycerans ranges in segments from two to five. The mandibles of Amblycera bite horizontally. The head is often broader and rounder anteriorly than of Anoplura but this morphologic difference is not reliable. The tarsi of species that parasitise birds have two claws, while of those that parasitise mammals have one only.[2]

The Amblycera are divided into the following families:[1]

Boopidae Mjoberg, 1910
Colpocephalidae Eichler, 1937
Gyropidae Kellogg, 1896
Laemobothriidae Mjoberg, 1910
Menoponidae Mjoberg, 1910
Pseudomenoponidae Mjoberg, 1910
Ricinidae Neumann, 1890
Somaphantidae Eichler, 1941
Trinotonidae Eichler, 1941

Significant species

Notable Amblycera that parasitise birds:

Holomenopon leucoxanthum (Burmeister, 1838) – cause of "wet feathers" of ducks
Menopon gallinae (Linnaeus, 1958) – the "shaft louse" of poultry, pale yellow in color
Menopon phaeostomum (Nitzsch, 1818) – usually occurs on peafowl
Menecanthus stramineus (Nitzsch, 1818) – the yellow "body louse" of poultry
Trinoton anserinum (J.C.Fabricus, 1805) – may be found on ducks and swans[verification needed]

Notable species that parasitise mammals:

Gliricola porcelli (Linnaeus, 1758) – on guinea-pigs
Gyropus ovalis (Nitzsch, 1818) – on guinea-pigs
Heterodoxus longitarsus (Piaget, 1880) – on Macropodidae (wallabies and kangaroos)
Heterodoxus macropus (Le Souef & Bullen, 1902) – on Macropodidae
Heterodoxus spiniger (Enderlein, 1909) – common on dogs in warm countries (between latitudes 40° north and 40° south)
Trimenopon hispidium (Burmeister, 1838) – on guinea-pigs


Johnson, Kevin P.; Smith, Vincent S. (2021). "Psocodea species file online, Version 5.0". Retrieved 2021-11-05.
Solsby, 1982

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