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Emilie Bess and Kevin P. Johnson
Containing group: Epipsocetae


Epipsocidae includes over 140 species in 16 genera worldwide.  The family is mainly tropical with major radiations in South America, Africa, and Malaysia.  Two species are known from North America in the genus Bertkauia.

Epipsocids are medium to large-sized bark lice (~10 mm in length).  They live on bark, in foliage, in leaf litter, and on shaded rocks.



General Characters

How to Know the Family

Family Monophyly

The monophyly of Epipsocidae is strongly supported by a morphological phylogeny of 11 Epipscocid genera (Casasola Gonzalez & Garcia Aldrete 2002) and by a molecular analysis that included 18S rDNA sequences of three species (Goja sp., Epipsocus sp., and Bertkauia crosbyana) (Johnson et al. 2004).


Casasola Gonzalez, J. A. C. & A. N. Garcia Aldrete. 2002. A taxonomic revision of genus Goja (Psocoptera: Epipsocidae). Mexico City: UNAM Press.

Johnson, K. P. & E. L. Mockford. 2003. Molecular Systematics of Psocomorpha (Psocoptera). Systematic Entomology 28: 409-40.

Johnson, K. P., K. Yoshizawa, and V. S. Smith. 2004. Multiple origins of parasitism in lice. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 271:1771-1776.

Lienhard, C. and C. N Smithers. 2002. Psocoptera (Insecta) World Catalogue and Bibliography. Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle, Geneva, Switzerland.

Mockford, E. L. 1998. Generic definitions and species assignments in he Family Epipsocidae (Psocoptera). Insecta Mundi 12: 81-91.

Mockford, E. L. 1993. North American Psocoptera (Insecta). Sandhill Crane Press, Gainesville, Florida.

Smithers, C. N. 1996. Psocoptera. Pp. 1-80, 363-372 (Index) in Wells A. (ed.) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Vol. 26. Psocoptera, Phthiraptera, Thysanoptera. Melbourne: CSIRO Publishing, Australia.

Yoshizawa, K. 2002. Phylogeny and higher classification of suborder Psocomorpha (Insecta: Psocodea:'Psocoptera'). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 136: 371-400.

About This Page

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

Kevin P. Johnson
Illinois Natural History Survey, Champaign, Illinois, USA

Correspondence regarding this page should be directed to Emilie Bess at and Kevin P. Johnson at

All Rights Reserved.

Citing this page:

Bess, Emilie and Kevin P. Johnson. 2009. Epipsocidae. Version 25 March 2009 (under construction). http://tolweb.org/Epipsocidae/14463/2009.03.25 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/

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