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Revista mexicana de biodiversidad

versión On-line ISSN 2007-8706versión impresa ISSN 1870-3453

Rev. Mex. Biodiv. vol.80 no.3 México dic. 2009


Taxonomía y sistemática


A list of Psocoptera (Insecta: Psocodea) from Brazil


Listado de Psocoptera (Insecta: Psocodea) de Brasil


Alfonso N. García Aldrete1,* and Edward L. Mockford 2


1 Instituto de Biología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Apartado postal 70–153, 04510 México, D. F., Mexico.

2 Department of Biological Sciences, Illinois State University, Campus Box 4120, Normal, Illinois 61790–4120, USA.


* Correspondent:


Recibido: 14 octubre 2008
Aceptado: 14 enero 2009



The species of Psocoptera currently known for Brazil are listed, with state distribution and biogeographic status. The categories of geographic distribution are discussed, as well as some of the evidence indicating that the present size of the Brazilian fauna is underestimated.

Key words: Psocodea, Psocoptera, Brazil, geographic distribution.



Se listan las especies de Psocoptera actualmente registradas en Brasil, incluyendo la distribución por estado y su categoría biogeográfica. Se presenta alguna de la evidencia que hace suponer que el tamaño actual de la fauna de Psocoptera de Brasil está subestimada.

Palabras clave: Psocodea, Psocoptera, Brasil, distribución geográfica.



The Catalogue of the Psocoptera (Lienhard and Smithers, 2002) lists for Brazil 374 species in 87 genera and 29 families. We have updated this information, and the list presented here includes 425 species in 94 genera and 28 families (Table 1). The 'Psocoptera', a paraphyletic group, are the non–parasitic members of the order Psocodea (sensu Yoshizawa and Johnson, 2006: 358), which comprises also the ectoparasitic chewing and sucking lice ('Phthiraptera') (see Johnson et al., 2004). The list below is to be considered as a work in progress subject to modification as more information on the Brazilian psocid fauna becomes available.


Material and methods

The updating of the information on the Brazilian fauna in Lienhard and Smithers (2002) is derived mostly from the ongoing study of the vast Psocoptera collection in the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia (INPA), in Manaus, Amazonas, and from the study of the Psocoptera collected through the program PPBio, housed in the Laboratory of Insect Systematics, Universidade Estadual de Feira de Santana, Bahia, Brasil. The distributions in Table 1 were taken from the literature and from specimens in collections (mostly INPA and Colección Nacional de Insectos, CNIN, Instituto de Biología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México City).



Table 1 presents the list of species of Psocoptera known in Brazil; 425 species are listed, in 94 genera and 28 families. The largest and most diverse family is Psocidae, with 89 species in 23 genera, followed by Ptiloneuridae (50 species in 5 genera), Epipsocidae (48 species in 6 genera), and Lachesillidae (41 species in 6 genera). The most speciose genera (Lachesilla, Triplocania, Epipsocus, Archipsocus, Mesepipsocus, and Valenzuela) account for 135 species, and on the other extreme, 32 genera are represented by 1 species and 11 genera have 2 species. It is likely that Notolepium brasiliense New will have to be transferred to Thylacella (cf. Mockford, 2005). Twelve additional genera (Thylacella, Cyptophania, Neolepolepis, Lepinotus, Nanopsocus, Peritroctes, Epitroctes, Compsocus, Spurostigma, Par archipsocus, Tricholachesilla and Palmicola) probably occur in Brazil (García Aldrete and Mockford, unpublished data), but they have not yet been detected.

Table 2 presents the categories of geographic distribution of the species listed in Table 1. The most important component is that of the endemics, resulting in a strikingly high level of endemism (73.41%); the second most important component is that of the species shared with other South American countries (54 species). It is likely that, as the South American fauna becomes better known, the level of endemism will decrease. The number of widely distributed species, and the group of South American species shared with Central America is relatively important, although small in relation to the size of the fauna. The usual assemblage of cosmopolitans and tropical waifs (9 species) is also present.



Lienhard and Smithers (2002: Table 1) list 762 species of Psocoptera for South America. A conservative estimate of total species for South America is 1 300 species of Psocoptera, representing 13% of the world psocid fauna. García–Aldrete (2006) pointed out that, by the end of 2005, there were 5 557 described species in 474 genera; the potential total can be easily rounded up to 10 000 species, to account for the undescribed ones. The 13% above constitutes a gross underestimation, given that South America includes 4 megadiverse countries (Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Perú), and that the number of species in an extra–South American megadiverse country (Mexico) represents about 10% of the estimated world fauna (Mittermeier and Goetsch de Mittermeier, 1992; Llorente et al., 1996). In this context, Brazil, with 425 species recorded, stands as the richest country for Psocoptera in South America.

The nature of the Brazilian psocid fauna is, as expected, strongly South American, with many endemics and a good number of species shared with the surrounding countries; some species are also shared with the Caribbean area and with Central America (see Table 2). There is evidence indicating that the known size of the Brazilian fauna is underestimated; some of it is speculative, e.g. the psocid fauna of Mexico, also a megadiverse country, but nearly 4 times smaller than Brazil, is almost twice as large (Mockford and García–Aldrete, 1996; García–Aldrete, 2001); if psocid species diversity is proportional to geographical area, then many more species remain to be collected in Brazil. Other evidence comes from examination of a small fraction of the Psocoptera deposited in the INPA (Manaus, Amazônas) Invertebrate Collection, and the Psocoptera of the PPBio Program. In the latter, for example, 7 out of 8, in 5 genera, are new to science. In addition, the lack of records in 9 Brazilian states (Fig. 1) almost certainly refl ects a lack of collecting efforts and not genuine absences. It could be hypothesized that, in a medium time period, the psocid fauna of Brazil could be shown to be twice that presently recorded.



We thank José Albertino Rafael (INPA, Manaus, Amazônas) for the loan of specimens in the INPA collection to ANGA, and for the facilities provided to ANGA during his visit to Manaus in April 2005. Thanks are also extended to Freddy Bravo (Universidade Estadual de Feira de Santana, Feira de Santana, Bahia) for the loan of specimens in the Museu de Zoología, Universidade Estadual de Feira de Santana Collection, and for the attention and facilities provided to ANGA during his stay in Feira de Santana in September, 2008. We also thank Charles Lienhard (Muséum d'histoire naturelle, Genève, Suisse) and an anonymous reviewer, who read a former version of this work, and whose comments improved it considerably. Special thanks to PPBio Project, for partially financing the stay of ANGA at the UEFS in September 2008.


Literature cited

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García Aldrete, A. N. 2004b. Rediscovery of Ptiloneuropsis immaculata Roesler 1940 (Psocoptera: Ptiloneuridae), augmented description and neotype designation. Studies on Neotropical Fauna and Environment 39:207–215.        [ Links ]

García Aldrete, A. N. 2005. Three new monotypic genera of Epipsocidae (Psocoptera) from Peru and Brazil. Zootaxa 1077:51–60.         [ Links ]

García Aldrete, A. N. 2006. New genera of Psocoptera (Insecta), from Mexico, Belize and Ecuador (Psoquillidae, Ptiloneuridae, Lachesillidae). Zootaxa 1319:1–14.         [ Links ]

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Mockford, E. L. and A. N. García Aldrete. 1996. Psocoptera. In Biodiversidad, biogeografía y taxonomía de artrópodos de México: hacia una síntesis de su conocimiento, J. Llorente B., A. N. García Aldrete and E. González S. (eds.). Instituto de Biología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Mexico, D.F. p. 175–205.        [ Links ]

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