Taxonomy

of sub-Saharan Africa (Ledger 1980). These publications provide information on both sucldng lice and chewing lice. Checklists of the Mallophaga of the world (Hopkins and Clay 1952) and of North America (Emerson 1972) are useful taxonomic references for this group.

Because of the relatively high degree of host specificity exhibited by both chewing and sucking lice, several host—parasite checklists have been prepared. These include a detailed list of both anopluran and mallophagan lice associated with mammals (Hopkins 1949), a host— parasite list for North American Mallophaga (Emerson 1972), a world host—parasite list for the chewing lice of mammals (Emerson and Price 1981), and a host-parasite checklist for the Anoplura of the world (Durden and Musser 1994b).

About 550 species of sucking lice have been described (Durden and Musser 1994a), all of which parasitize placental mammals; these lice are currently assigned to 50 genera and 15 families. About 2650 valid species of Mallophaga have been described; most of these are associated with birds, but about 400 (ca. 15%) parasitize mammals. The Mallophaga can be divided into 3 suborders (Table I), 11 families, and 205 genera.

The Mallophaga are divided into the following three groups (suborders of most authors): Amblycera (seven families, ca. 76 genera, and ca. 850 species), Ischnocera (three families, ca. 130 genera, and ca. 1800 species), and Rhyncophthirina (one family, 1 genus, and 3 species) (Figs. 4.1 and 4.5). However, there has been disagreement regarding the taxonomic rank of these three groups and their relationships to the Anoplura. Many current classifications treat the Phthiraptera as an order and assign suborder (or superfamily) rank to each of the Anoplura, Amblycera, Ischnocera, and Rhyncophthirina. Other classifications treat the Anoplura and Mallophaga as separate orders. Unfortunately, recent phylogenetic analyses of lice based on cladistic principles have produced contradictory results and have failed to resolve this issue. Regardless of current taxonomic interpretations, it is widely agreed that both sucking and chewing lice originated from a common nonparasitic ancestral group closely related to the order Psocoptera (book lice and bark lice). These two groups diverged in the late Jurassic or early Cretaceous Period, 100—150 million years ago.

Sucking lice of medical importance are assigned to two families, the Pediculidae and Pthiridae, whereas sucking lice of veterinary importance are assigned to five families: the Haematopinidae, Hoplopleuridae, Linognathidae, Pedicinidae, and Polyplacidae (Table II). Only one species of chewing louse, the dog biting louse, in the family Trichodectidae, has public health importance. Mallophaga of veterinary significance are typically placed in five families: the Boopiidae, Gyropidae, Menoponidae, Philopteridae, and Trichodectidae (Table I).

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