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Anoplura Leach, 1815

Sucking Lice

Vince Smith and Emilie Bess
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   Antarctophthirus microchir
Containing group: Phthiraptera


The sucking lice, Anoplura, are parasites of mammals. Of the approximately 500 species of sucking lice, about 2/3 are parasites of rodents. They feed exclusively on blood and heavy infestations can cause severe debilitation, anemia, and weakness of the host (Price and Graham 1997).


Other Names for Anoplura Leach, 1815


Durden, L. A. and G. G. Musser (1992). "Sucking lice (Insecta, Anoplura) from indigenous Sulawesi rodents: A new species of Polypax from a montane shrew rat, and new information about Polypax wallacei and P. eropepli." American Museum Novitates 3052: 19 pp.

Durden, L. A. and G. G. Musser (1994). "The sucking lice (Insecta, Anoplura) of the world: A taxonomic checklist with records of mammalian hosts and geographic distributions." Bulletin of the British Museum of Natural History 218: 90 pp.

Haub, F. (1980). "Letter to the editors: Concerning "phylogenetic relationships of parasitic Psocodea and taxonomic position of the Anoplura" by K. C. Kim and H. W. Ludwig." Annals of the Entomological Society of America 73(1): 3-6.

Kim, K. C. (1975). "Ecological and morphological adaption of the sucking lice ,(Anoplura: Echinophthiriidae) on the northern fur seal." Rapp. P.-v. Réun. Cons. int. Explor. Mer. 169: 504-515.

Kim, K. C. and K. C. Emerson (1974). "Latagophthirus rauschi, new genus and new species (Anoplura: Echinophthiriidae) from the river otter (Carnivora: Mustelidae)." Journal of Medical Entomology 11(4): 442-446.

Kim, K. C. (1988). Evolutionary parallelism in Anoplura and eutherian mammals. Biosystematics of Haematophagous Insects. M. W. Service. Oxford, Clarendon Press. 37: 91-114.

Kim, K. C. and H. W. Ludwig (1978). "Phylogenetic relationships of Parasitic Psocodea and Taxonomic Position of the Anoplura." Annals of the America Entomological Society of 71(6): 910-922.

Kim, K. C., C. A. Repenning, et al. (1975). "Specific Antiquity of the sucking lice and evolution of the otariid seals." Rapp. P.-v. Réun. Cons int. Explor. Mer. 169: 544-549.

Mey, E. (1994). "Pedicinus-Formen (Insecta, Phthiraptera, Anoplura) seltener schlankaffen (Mammalia, Primates, Colobinae) aus Vietnam." Rudolstädter nat. hist. Schr. 6: 83-92.

Price, M. A. and O.H. Graham (1997). "Chewing and sucking lice as parasites of mammals and birds." US Department of Agriculture Technical Service Bulletin No. 1849, 309 pp.

Title Illustrations
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Scientific Name Antarctophthirus trichechi
Comments LouseBase accession number: GLA.M12
Specimen Condition Dead Specimen
Identified By V. S. Smith
Sex Female
Life Cycle Stage adult
Body Part head, thorax
View dorsal
Collection Specimens from the collection of V. Smith
Copyright ©
Scientific Name Haematopinus eurysternus
Comments Parasite of Bos taurus
Specimen Condition Dead Specimen
Copyright © 1996 Iowa State University''s Entomology Image Gallery
Scientific Name Echinophthirius horridus
Sex Female
Life Cycle Stage adult
View dorsal/ventral
Copyright © The Pacific Coast Entomological Society, San Francisco
Antarctophthirus microchir
Scientific Name Antarctophthirus microchir
Specimen Condition Dead Specimen
Identified By Vince Smith
Sex Male
Life Cycle Stage Adult
Copyright © 2006
About This Page

The Natural History Museum

Emilie Bess
Illinois Natural History Survey, Champaign, Illinois, USA

Correspondence regarding this page should be directed to Emilie Bess at

All Rights Reserved.

Citing this page:

Smith, Vince and Emilie Bess. 2009. Anoplura Leach, 1815. Sucking Lice. Version 14 April 2009 (under construction). http://tolweb.org/Anoplura/13871/2009.04.14 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/

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