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Superregnum: Eukaryota
Cladus: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Cladus: Holozoa
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: Endopterygota
Superordines: Coleopterida - Hymenopterida - Neuropterida - Panorpida

Overview of ordines

Coleoptera - Diptera - Hymenoptera - Lepidoptera - "Mecoptera" - Megaloptera - Neuroptera - Raphidioptera - Siphonaptera - Strepsiptera - Trichoptera – †Permotrichoptera – †Skleroptera
[list of ordines after Grimaldi & Engel (2005: 147, table 4.1)]


Endopterygota Sharp, 1898



Aspöck, U. 2002: Phylogeny of the Neuropterida (Insecta: Holometabola). Zoologica Scripta, 31: 51–56.
Beutel, R.G. and H. Pohl. 2006: Endopterygote systematics – where do we stand and what is the goal (Hexapoda, Arthropoda)? Systematic Entomology, 31(2): 202–219.
Büning, J. 2005: The telotrophic ovary known from Neuropterida exists also in the myxophagan beetle Hydroscapha natans. Development genes and evolution, 215: 597–607.
Büning, J. 2006: Ovariole structure supports sistergroup relationship of Neuropterida and Coleoptera. Arthropod systematics & phylogeny, 64: 115–126. [1]
Castro, L.R.; Dowton, M. 2005: The position of the Hymenoptera within the Holometabola as inferred from the mitochondrial genome of Perga condei (Hymenoptera: Symphyta: Pergidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 34(3): 469–479.
Grimaldi, D.; Engel, M.S. 2005: Evolution of the insects. Cambridge University Press, New York, USA. limited preview on Google books
Haring, E.; Aspöck, U. 2004: Phylogeny of the Neuropterida: a first molecular approach. Systematic entomology, 29: 415–430.
Krenn, H.W. 2007: Evidence from mouthpart structure on interordinal relationships in Endopterygota? Arthropod systematics & phylogeny, 65(1): 7–14. PDF
Nel, A., Roques, P., Nel, P., Prokin, A.A., Bourgoin, T., Prokop, J., Szwedo, J., Azar, D., Desutter-Grandcolas, L., Wappler, T., Garrouste, R., Coty, D., Huang, D.-Y., Engel, M. & Kirejtshuk, A.G. 2013. The earliest-known holometabolous insects. Nature 503: 257–261. [14 p. Supplementary material.] DOI: 10.1038/nature12629 Paywall. Reference page.
Wootton, R.J. 2002: Design, function and evolution in the wings of holometabolous insects. Zoologica Scripta, 31: 31–40.
Whiting, M.F. 2002: Phylogeny of the holometabolous insect orders: molecular evidence. Zoologica Scripta, 31: 3–15.

Vernacular names
English: Complete Metamorphosis Insects
magyar: Fejlett szárnyas rovarok
日本語: 内翅類
Türkçe: Tümbaşkalaşmalı böcekler
Tiếng Việt: Côn trùng trưởng thành
中文: 内翅總目

Endopterygota (from Ancient Greek endon 'inner' + pterón 'wing' + New Latin -ota 'having'), also known as Holometabola, is a superorder of insects within the infraclass Neoptera that go through distinctive larval, pupal, and adult stages. They undergo a radical metamorphosis, with the larval and adult stages differing considerably in their structure and behaviour. This is called holometabolism, or complete metamorphism.


The Endopterygota constitute the most diverse insect superorder, with over 1 million living species divided between 11 orders, containing insects such as butterflies, flies, fleas, bees, ants, and beetles.[2]

The earliest endopterygote fossils date from the Carboniferous.[3]

The Endopterygota are sometimes divided into three assemblages: Neuropterida (Neuroptera, Megaloptera, Raphidioptera, Strepsiptera and Coleoptera), Hymenopteroida (Hymenoptera), and Panorpida (Siphonaptera, Diptera, Trichoptera, Lepidoptera and Mecoptera).

Molecular analysis has clarified the group's phylogeny, as shown in the cladogram.[4]


Hymenoptera (sawflies, wasps) European wasp white bg.jpg


Raphidioptera (snakeflies) Raphidia icon.png

Megaloptera (alderflies and allies) Corydalus cornutus illustration (rotated).png

Neuroptera (Lacewings and allies) Osmylus (white background).jpg


Coleoptera (beetles) Pseudacrossus przewalskyi (Reitter, <a href=1887).jpg" decoding="async" srcset="// 1.5x, // 2x" data-file-width="3935" data-file-height="2625" height="33" width="50" />

Strepsiptera (twisted-wing parasites) Elenchus koebelei.jpg


Trichoptera (caddisflies) RHYACOPHILA DORSALIS Male Pont Forge de Sailly Watigny 02 MHNT.jpg

Lepidoptera (butterflies, moths) Arctia villica SLU.JPG


Diptera Common house fly, Musca domestica.jpg

Mecoptera (scorpionflies) Scorpionfly (white background).jpg

Siphonaptera (fleas) Pulex irritans female ZSM (white background).jpg


Holometabolism stages in Hymenoptera

The Endopterygota are distinguished from the Exopterygota by the way in which their wings develop. Endopterygota (literally "internal winged forms") develop wings inside the body and undergo an elaborate metamorphosis involving a pupal stage. Exopterygota ("external winged forms") develop wings on the outside their bodies and do not go through a pupal stage. The latter trait is plesiomorphic, however, as it is found also in groups such as Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies), which are not Neoptera, but more basal among insects.
See also

Insect morphology


Wang, Y.-h. et al. Fossil record of stem groups employed in evaluating the chronogram of insects (Arthropoda: Hexapoda). Sci. Rep. 6, 38939; doi:10.1038/srep38939 (2016).
Rolf G. Beutel; Hans Pohl (2006). "Endopterygote systematics – where do we stand and what is the goal (Hexapoda, Arthropoda)?". Systematic Entomology. 31 (2): 202–219. doi:10.1111/j.1365-3113.2006.00341.x. S2CID 83714402.
A. Nel; P. Roques; P. Nel; J. Prokop; J. S. Steyer (2007). "The earliest holometabolous insect from the Carboniferous: a "crucial" innovation with delayed success (Insecta Protomeropina Protomeropidae)". Annales de la Société Entomologique de France. 43 (3): 349–355. doi:10.1080/00379271.2007.10697531. S2CID 86235521.
Kjer, Karl M.; Simon, Chris; Yavorskaya, Margarita & Beutel, Rolf G. (2016). "Progress, pitfalls and parallel universes: a history of insect phylogenetics". Journal of the Royal Society Interface. 13 (121): 121. doi:10.1098/rsif.2016.0363. PMC 5014063. PMID 27558853.

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