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).

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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).

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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.

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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.
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Known predators

Psocoptera (Psocoptera 9 families 13 spp.) is prey of:
Eleutherodactylus coqui
Eleutherodactylus richmondi
Eleutherodactylus portoricensis
Eleutherodactylus wightmanae
Eleutherodactylus eneidae
Anolis evermanni
Anolis stratulus
Anolis gundlachi
Sphaerodactylus klauberi
Sphaerodactylus macrolepis

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

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats
Specimen Records:15859
Specimens with Sequences:13841
Specimens with Barcodes:13551
Species:120
Species With Barcodes:111
Public Records:12865
Public Species:19
Public BINs:577
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Barcode data

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