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Ptycta Enderlein 1925

Emilie Bess and Kevin P. Johnson
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Containing group: Psocidae


Ptycta Enderlein, 1925, is a large genus in the family Psocidae that includes more than 170 species from all zoogeographic regions of the world, with the greatest diversity in sub-tropical and tropical regions of Africa (29 species), Asia (43), and the Pacific Islands (63) (Leinhard & Smithers 2002, Yoshizawa 2006). Ptycta has undergone an explosive radiation on the Hawaiian Islands, where there are 51 described endemic species, 85% of which are single-island endemics.

Ptycta has been a problematic genus. The original description (Enderlein 1925) and subsequent revisions (Smithers 1983, 1985; Thornton 1984) have defined the group based on plesiomorphic wing venation characters. As a result, Ptycta has become a heterogeneous “holding genus” (Endang et al. 2002; Leinhard & Smithers 2002). Recently, new male genital characters have been described (Bess & Yoshizawa, unpublished data) that distinguish Ptycta from related genera. A full revision of the genus will be necessary to assign species lacking these synapomorphies to other genera.


Ptycta have typical Ptyctini morphology and are often black-and-white in color with spotted wings. Ptycta closely resemble sister genus Copostigma and can be distinguished by:


Badonnel A (1967) Insectes Psocoptères. Faune de Madagascar 23: 1-238.

Bess, E. C. and K. Yoshizawa. Redefinition of Ptycta Enderlein (Psocodea: ‘Psocoptera’: Psocidae) and a Taxonomic Revision of the Japanese Species. Submitted to Entomological Science.

Chui VWD, Thornton IWB (1972) A numerical taxonomic study of the endemic Ptycta species of the Hawaiian Islands (Psocoptera: Psocidae). Systematic Zoology 21: 7-22.

Endang SK, Thornton IWB, New TR (2002) The Psocidae (Insecta : Psocoptera) of Java and the eastern islands of Indonesia. Invertebrate Systematics 16: 107–176.

Enderlein G (1903) Die Copeognathen des indo-australischen Faunengebietes. Annales historico-naturales Musei nationalis Hungarici 1: 179-344.

Enderlein G (1906) Die australischen Copeognathen. Zoologische Jahrbücher (Abteilung Systematik) 23: 401-412.

Enderlein G (1925) Beiträge zur Kenntnis der Copeognathen IX. Konowia 4: 97-108.

Enderlein G (1931) The Percy Sladen Trust Expedition to the Indian Ocean in 1905, under the leadership of Mr J. Stanley Gardiner, M.A. VIII. Die Copeognathen-Fauna der Seychellen. Transactions of the Linnean Society of London, 2nd Series, Zoology 19: 207-240.

Günther KK (1974) Staubläuse, Psocoptera. In: Die Tierwelt Deutschlands. Jena. 61. Teil.

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

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

Mockford EL (2001) Additions and corrections to "A classification of the psocopteran family Caeciliusidae (Caeciliidae auct.)". Transactions of the American Entomological Society 127: 79-84.

Okamoto H (1907) Die Psociden Japans. Transactions of the Sapporo Natural History Society 2: 113-147.

Pearman JV (1934) New and little known African Psocoptera. Stylops 3: 121-132.

Perkins RCL (1899) Neuroptera. In: Fauna Hawaiiensis, pp. 77-87. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Smithers CN (1972) The classification and phylogeny of the Psocoptera. Australian Museum Memoirs 14: 1-349.

Smithers CN (1983) A reappraisal of Clematostigma Enderlein with notes on related genera (Psocoptera: Psocidae). Australian Entomological Magazine 9: 71-79

Smithers CN (1985) Redefinition of Copostigma Enderlein (Psocoptera: Psocidae). Australian Entomological Magazine 12: 61-62.

Smithers CN, Thornton IWB (1990) Systematics and distribution of the Melanesian Psocidae (Psocoptera). Invertebrate Taxonomy 3: 431-468.

Thornton IWB (1981) Psocoptera of the Fiji Islands. Pacific Insects Monographs 37: 1-105.

Thornton IWB (1984) Psocoptera of the Hawaiian Islands. Part III. The endemic Ptycta complex (Psocidae): systematics, distribution and evolution. International Journal of Entomology 26: 1-128.

Thornton IWB, Lee SS, Chui VWD (1972) Insects of Micronesia: Psocoptera. Insects of Micronesia 8: 45-144.

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

Yoshizawa K (2005) Morphology of Psocomorpha (Psocodea:’Psocoptera’). Insecta Matsumurana 62: 1-44.

Yoshizawa K, Smithers CN (in press) Systematic position of Trichodenotecnum enderleini (Roesler) (Psocodea: ‘Psocoptera’: Psocodae). Records of the Australian Museum.

Title Illustrations
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Scientific Name Ptycta johnsoni
Location Nokonoshima Island, Kyushu, Japan
Specimen Condition Live Specimen
Sex Male
Life Cycle Stage adult
View dorsal
Size 4mm
Copyright © 2006 Kazunori Yoshizawa
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. Ptycta Enderlein 1925. Version 25 March 2009 (under construction). http://tolweb.org/Ptycta/35174/2009.03.25 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/

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