Overview

Brief Summary

Psocoptera (commonly called psocids) are one of the smaller orders of paraneopteran insects. Many species are arboreal, but a few are more usually found on low vegetation or in litter. All feed on microflora and organic debris. Some are found in nests of birds and mammals, within aggregations of other insects or associated with human habitations. The head of these usually soft bodied pterygote insects (with a body length of 0.67 mm to 8 mm) is globulous with an usually prominent clypeus and projecting eyes, long and filiform antennae and biting mouthparts, the laciniae being characteristic for the order. Adults have usually four wings with simple venation. However, many species are brachypterous, micropterous or apterous (Lienhard 1998, Lienhard and Smithers 2002, Mockford 1993, New 2005).

  • Lienhard C (2002–2009). Additions and Corrections to Lienhard & Smithers, 2002 Psocoptera (Insecta) : World Catalogue and bibliography. Psocid News 4 (2002), 6 (2004), 7 (2005), 8 (2006), 9 (2007), 10 (2008) and 11 (2009). http://www.psocodea.org/psocid_news.
  • Lienhard C, Smithers CN (2002) Psocoptera (Insecta): World Catalogue and Bibliography. Instrumenta Biodiversitatis 5. Genève: Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle. 745 pp.
  • Mockford E L (1993) North American Psocoptera (Insecta). Flora and Fauna Handbook 10.
  • Gainesville, Florida: Sandhill Crane Press. 455 pp.
  • New TR (2005) Psocids, Psocoptera (Booklice and barklice). Handbooks for the Identifi cation of
  • British Insects Vol 1, Part 7. London: Royal Entomological Society. 146 pp.
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Psocoptera are an order of insects that are commonly known as booklice, barklice or barkflies. They first appeared in the Permian period, 295–248 million years ago. They are often regarded as the most primitive of the hemipteroids (O'Toole 2002).  Their name originates from the Greek word psokos meaning gnawed or rubbed and ptera meaning wings (Meyer 2005).  There are more than 5,500 species in 41 families in three suborders. Many of these species have only been described in recent years (García Aldrete 2006).

 They range in size from 1–10 millimeters (0.04–0.4 in) in length.

The species known as booklice received their common name because they are commonly found amongst old books—they feed upon the paste used in binding. The barklice are found harmlessly on trees, feeding on algae and lichen. No member of this order is currently considered endangered; in fact, in 2007, Atlantopsocus adustus, a species native to Madeira and the Canary Islands, was found to have colonized the mild Cornish coast of southwest England (BBC News 2007).

Recent mophological (Yoshizawa & Johnson 2006) and molecular evidence (Johnson et al. 2004) has shown that the parasitic lice (Phthiraptera) evolved from within the psocopteran suborder Troctomorpha.  In modern systematics, Psocoptera and Phthiraptera are therefore treated together in the order Psocodea  (Bess et al. 2006).

  • BBC News, "New insect species arrives in UK" 8 November 2007
  • Bess, Emilie, Vince Smith, Charles Lienhard, and Kevin P. Johnson (2006) Psocodea. Parasitic Lice (=Phthiraptera), Book Lice, and Bark Lice. Version 08 October 2006 (under construction). http://tolweb.org/Psocodea/8235/2006.10.08 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/
  • García Aldrete, Alfonso N. (2006). "New genera of Psocoptera (Insecta), from Mexico, Belize and Ecuador (Psoquillidae, Ptiloneuridae, Lachesillidae)". Zootaxa 1319: 1–14.
  • Johnson, K. P., Yoshizawa, K. and V. S. Smith (2004) Multiple origins of parasitism in lice. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London 271: 1771-1776.
  • Meyer, John R. (2005-03-05). "Psocoptera". North Carolina State University.
  • National Barkfly Recording Scheme (Britain and Ireland). Introduction to barkflies. http://www.brc.ac.uk/schemes/barkfly/introduction.htm
  • O'Toole, Christopher (2002). Firefly Encyclopedia of Insects and Spiders. Toronto: Firefly Books. ISBN 1-55297-612-2.
  • Yoshizawa, K. and K. P. Johnson (2006). Morphology of male genitalia in lice and their relatives and phylogenetic implications. Systematic Entomology 31: 350-361.
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Psocoptera Overview

The commons names used for Order Psocoptera are: barklice, booklice, psochids, and barkflies.  Psocoptera has three suborders and 41 families.  340 species can be found in Canada and the United States.  They typically live for a few months.  Most are less than six millimeters long.  Indoor species can be found in books and outdoor species are found on bark or foliage.  The winged species have two pairs of membranous wings and usually live outdoors.  Psocoptera have long antennae and lack cerci.  They have compound eyes and three simple eyes (ocelli).  They are often concentrated on coniferous trees.  The outdoor species usually feed on algae, lichen, mold, cereal, or pollen.  The indoor species usually feed on book binding paste.  They do not bite humans.   The nymphs will molt about six times before becoming an adult. They can be seen in the fossil record as far back as the early Permian.

  • Borror, Donald, Charles Triplehorn, and Norman Johnson. An Introduction to the Study of Insects. 6th ed. Saunders College Publishing, 1989. 260-274. Print.
  • Capinera, John. "Bark-Lice, Book-Lice or Psocids (Psocoptera)." Encyclopedia of Entomology. 4. 2008.
  • "Psocoptera." Wikipedia. 2013. .
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Ecology

Associations

Animal / predator
adult of Campyloneura virgula is predator of egg of Psocoptera
Remarks: season: 7-10

Animal / predator
Dufouriellus ater is predator of Psocoptera

Animal / predator
adult of Empicoris baerensprungi is predator of Psocoptera

Animal / predator
nymph of Loricula elegantula is predator of Psocoptera

In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Animal / predator / stocks nest with
female of Nitela borealis stocks nest with nymph of Psocoptera

Animal / predator / stocks nest with
female of Nitela lucens stocks nest with nymph of Psocoptera

Animal / predator / stocks nest with
female of Rhopalum clavipes stocks nest with Psocoptera

Animal / predator
Temnostethus gracilis is predator of Psocoptera

Animal / predator
Temnostethus pusillus is predator of Psocoptera
Remarks: Other: uncertain

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Known prey organisms

Psocoptera (Psocoptera 9 families 13 spp.) preys on:
bacteria
lichens
detritus

Based on studies in:
Puerto Rico, El Verde (Rainforest)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
  • Waide RB, Reagan WB (eds) (1996) The food web of a tropical rainforest. University of Chicago Press, Chicago
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Known predators

  • Waide RB, Reagan WB (eds) (1996) The food web of a tropical rainforest. University of Chicago Press, Chicago
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats
                                        
Specimen Records:10,131Public Records:7,614
Specimens with Sequences:8,434Public Species:11
Specimens with Barcodes:8,268Public BINs:350
Species:61         
Species With Barcodes:26         
          
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Barcode data

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Locations of barcode samples

Collection Sites: world map showing specimen collection locations for Psocoptera

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