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Emilie Bess and Kevin P. Johnson
Containing group: Troctomorpha


The family Sphaeropsocidae includes 3 genera and 15 species with worldwide distribution, but absent from Asia.  Within North America, two species of Sphaeropsocus have been found in ground litter in California and another species, Sphaeropsocopsis argentina, has been found in agricultural products introduced from Argentina.

Sphaeropsocids are tiny bark lice that resemble beetles.  Body color is brown.  They have been found in ground litter and dead leaves.


Discussion of Phylogenetic Relationships

Molecular analysis including one species of Badonnelia placed family Sphaeropsocidae in infraorder Amphientometae (18S nDNA; Johnson et al. 2004), but relationships within the family have not been investigated with molecular data.  Morphological study of the male genitalia of Troctomorpha supports the placement of Sphaeropsocidae as sister to the other members of infraorder Nonopsocetae (Yoshizawa & Johnson 2006).


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

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.

Smithers, C.N. 1972. The classification and phylogeny of the Psocoptera. Memoirs of the Australian Museum 14: 1–349.

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. Sphaeropsocidae. Version 25 March 2009 (temporary). http://tolweb.org/Sphaeropsocidae/14457/2009.03.25 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/

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