Insects & other Arthropods David A Kendall   BSc PhD
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Order Zoraptera

(Zor-aptera, from Greek zoros = pure, apteros = wingless)
Class: Insecta
Order: Zoraptera

Minute insects, less than 3 mm long, that live gregariously under bark, in decaying wood, humus, etc., and are sometimes found near the galleries of termites. Antennae with large, distinct segments and rather thick in appearance. Mouthparts for biting and chewing. Most species have winged and wingless forms. The winged forms have two pairs of wings but shed them, rather like termites, by breaking them off at the bases. The commoner wingless forms are only slightly pigmented and without eyes, while the rarer winged forms are darker in colour and have eyes. Tarsi 2-segmented. Cerci very short and unsegmented. Metamorphosis simple. This is a very small Order consisting of 16 known species found in all the warmer regions of the world. Absent from Europe and the British Isles. All the known species are placed in a single genus Zorotypus (family Zorotypidae).

Zorotypus sp.

Little is known about the biology and life cycle of these insects. They always tend to be gregarious, but there is no evidence of social organisation. Fungal spores and the remains of small mites have been found in the gut contents of dissected specimens.

Illustration: adapted from Silvestri 1913 (Boll. Lab. Zool. Portici 7, 193-209)

Zorotypus sp. from Africa
(wingless form)

insect classification
(classification of insects)
(identification key to insect orders)
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Copyright © 2010 David Kendall Last revised May 2010