Under Construction


Emilie Bess
Click on an image to view larger version & data in a new window
Click on an image to view larger version & data in a new window
taxon links [up-->]Belapha [up-->]Embidopsocus [up-->]Belaphopsocus [up-->]Troglotroctes [up-->]Liposcelis [up-->]Chaetotroctes [up-->]Troctulus [up-->]Belaphotroctes [up-->]Embidopsocopsis [down<--]Troctomorpha Interpreting the tree
close box

This tree diagram shows the relationships between several groups of organisms.

The root of the current tree connects the organisms featured in this tree to their containing group and the rest of the Tree of Life. The basal branching point in the tree represents the ancestor of the other groups in the tree. This ancestor diversified over time into several descendent subgroups, which are represented as internal nodes and terminal taxa to the right.

example of a tree diagram

You can click on the root to travel down the Tree of Life all the way to the root of all Life, and you can click on the names of descendent subgroups to travel up the Tree of Life all the way to individual species.

For more information on ToL tree formatting, please see Interpreting the Tree or Classification. To learn more about phylogenetic trees, please visit our Phylogenetic Biology pages.

close box
Containing group: Troctomorpha


Liposcelidae includes 9 genera and about 200 species distributed worldwide.  About 40 species in the genera Belaphotroctes, Embidopsocus, and Liposcelis are found in North America.

Liposcelids are very small book lice with body colors ranging from dark brown to creamy white.  They live under bark, in dead leaves, dead grass, and in the nests of mammals and birds.  Liposcelis bostrychophila is a serious domestic pest in buildings and stored food and can develop enormous populations, due in part to their ability to reproduce asexually.



General Characters

How to Know the Family

Discussion of Phylogenetic Relationships

Morphological study of the male genitalia of Troctomorpha supports monophyly of family Liposcelidae based on the broad, elongate parameres of the phallosome (Yoshizawa & Johnson 2006).  Molecular data including five species of genus Liposcelis strongly supports the monophyly of the genus (18S nDNA; Johnson et al. 2004) but other genera of Liposcelidae have not yet been included in molecular analyses.


Grimaldi, D. and M. S. Engel. 2006. Fossil Liposcelididae and the lice ages (Insecta: Psocodea). Proc Biol Sci. 273:62533. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2005.3337

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.

Yoshizawa, K. and K.P. Johnson. 2006. Morphology of male genitalia in lice and their relatives and phylogentic implications. Systematic Entomology 31: 350-361.

Title Illustrations
Click on an image to view larger version & data in a new window
Click on an image to view larger version & data in a new window
Scientific Name Liposcelis bostrychophila
Specimen Condition Live Specimen
Identified By Charles Lienhard
Sex Female
Life Cycle Stage adult
Copyright ©
Scientific Name Liposcelis bostrychophila
Location Urbana, Illinois
Specimen Condition Dead Specimen
Identified By E. Mockford
Sex Female
Life Cycle Stage adult
Body Part head
View anterior/lateral
Size 2mm body length
Copyright © 2006 Emilie Bess
Scientific Name Liposcelis
Location Ascension Parish, Louisiana, USA
Comments Liposcelis, could be bostrychophila
Size ~1.25 mm
Source Photo#104851
Source Collection BugGuide.Net
Image Use creative commons This media file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License - Version 1.0.
Copyright © Perry Babin
About This Page

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:

Bess, Emilie. 2009. Liposcelididae. Version 25 March 2009 (under construction). http://tolweb.org/Liposcelididae/14455/2009.03.25 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/

edit this page
close box

This page is a Tree of Life Branch Page.

Each ToL branch page provides a synopsis of the characteristics of a group of organisms representing a branch of the Tree of Life. The major distinction between a branch and a leaf of the Tree of Life is that each branch can be further subdivided into descendent branches, that is, subgroups representing distinct genetic lineages.

For a more detailed explanation of the different ToL page types, have a look at the Structure of the Tree of Life page.

close box


Page Content

articles & notes



Explore Other Groups

random page

  go to the Tree of Life home page