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Endopterygota: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Fossil range: 318–0 Ma
Middle Carboniferous - Recent
Panorpa communis, a scorpionfly (order Mecoptera)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Hexapoda
Class: Insecta
Subclass: Pterygota
Infraclass: Neoptera
Superorder: Endopterygota
Sharp, 1898

Hymenoptera (ants, bees, etc.)
Coleoptera (beetles)
Strepsiptera (twisted-winged parasites)
Raphidioptera (snakeflies)
Megaloptera (alderflies, etc.)
Neuroptera (net-veined insects)
Mecoptera (scorpionflies, etc.)
Siphonaptera (fleas)
Diptera (true flies)
Trichoptera (caddisflies)
Lepidoptera (butterflies, moths)
For fossil groups and possible future splits, see text.

The Endopterygota, also known as Holometabola, are insects of the subclass Pterygota which go through distinctive larval, pupal, and adult stages. They undergo a radical metamorphosis, with the larval and adult stages differing considerably in their structure and behaviour. This is called holometabolism, or complete metamorphism.

The Endopterygota are among the most diverse insect superorders, with at least 680,000 living species divided between eleven orders, containing insects such as butterflies, fleas, bees, ants and beetles.

They are distinguished from the Exopterygota (or Hemipterodea) by the way in which their wings develop. Endopterygota (meaning literally "internal winged forms") develop wings inside the body and undergo an elaborate metamorphosis involving a pupal stage. Exopterygota ("external winged forms") develop wings on the outside of their bodies and do not go through a pupal stage. The latter trait is plesiomorphic however and not exclusively found in the exopterygotes, but also in groups such as Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies) which are not Neoptera but more basal among insects.


ITIS considers any subdivision of the Neoptera beyond the orders invalid, but this is almost universally rejected.

The Endopterygota are sometimes divided into three assemblages: Neuropteroida (Neuroptera, Megaloptera, Raphidioptera and Coleoptera), Hymenopteroida (Hymenoptera), and Panorpoida (Siphonaptera, Diptera, Trichoptera, Lepidoptera, Strepsiptera and Mecoptera). It was long believed that the hymenopterans, with their highly-developed social systems, constituted the most advanced insects, despite their rather "primitive" anatomy compared to flies and beetles for example.

More recently, this has increasingly been rejected and DNA sequence data seems to verify that the hymenopterans are indeed among the most basal endopterygotes, whereas flies and fleas are often considered the most radically advanced insects. This calls the previous subdivision into question, and consequently several new taxa have been proposed, splitting up the Endopterygota. While some groups (such as the "sucking-stinging" fly-flea assemblage or the caddisfly-butterfly group) seem indeed to be good clades, it is not likely that the relationships of the endopterygotes, or the neopteran insects in general, will be resolved in detail soon.

Superorder Endopterygota sensu stricto

Proposed superorder Neuropterida/Neuropteroidea

Proposed superorder Mecopteroidea/Antliophora

Proposed superorder Amphiesmenoptera

Incertae sedis

See also


  • Beutel, R. G., et al. (2006): Endopterygote systematics - where do we stand and what is the goal (Hexapoda, Arthropoda)? Systematic Entomology. 31(2): 202-219.
  • Nel, A., et al. (2007): The earliest holometabolous insect from the Carboniferous: a "crucial" innovation with delayed success (Insecta Protomeropina Protomeropidae) Annales de la Societe Entomologique de France. 43(3): 349-355.


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary




Proper noun

Wikipedia has an article on:



  1. a taxonomic superorder, within infraclass Neoptera - various winged insects

See also

Wikispecies has information on:



Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies

A beetle in southeastern Brazil.


Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Protostomia
Cladus: Ecdysozoa
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Hexapoda
Classis: Insecta
Cladus: Dicondylia
Cladus: Pterygota
Cladus: Metapterygota
Cladus: Neoptera
Cladus: Eumetabola
Cladus: Endopterygota
Superordines: Coleopterida - Hymenopterida - Neuropterida - Panorpida

Overview of ordines

Coleoptera - Diptera - Hymenoptera - Lepidoptera - "Mecoptera" - Megaloptera - Neuroptera - Raphidioptera - Siphonaptera - Strepsiptera - Trichoptera
[list of ordines after Grimaldi & Engel (2005: 147, table 4.1)]





  • Aspöck, U. 2002: Phylogeny of the Neuropterida (Insecta: Holometabola). Zoologica Scripta, 31: 51-56.
  • Beutel, R.G. and H. Pohl. 2006: Endopterygote systematics – where do we stand and what is the goal (Hexapoda, Arthropoda)? Systematic Entomology, 31(2): 202-219.
  • Büning, J. 2005: The telotrophic ovary known from Neuropterida exists also in the myxophagan beetle Hydroscapha natans. Development genes and evolution, 215: 597-607.
  • Büning, J. 2006: Ovariole structure supports sistergroup relationship of Neuropterida and Coleoptera. Arthropod systematics & phylogeny, 64: 115-126. [1]
  • Castro, L.R.; Dowton, M. 2005: The position of the Hymenoptera within the Holometabola as inferred from the mitochondrial genome of Perga condei (Hymenoptera: Symphyta: Pergidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 34(3): 469-479.
  • Grimaldi, D.; Engel, M.S. 2005: Evolution of the insects. Cambridge University Press, New York, USA. limited preview on Google books
  • Haring, E.; Aspöck, U. 2004: Phylogeny of the Neuropterida: a first molecular approach. Systematic entomology, 29: 415-430.
  • Krenn, H.W. 2007: Evidence from mouthpart structure on interordinal relationships in Endopterygota? Arthropod systematics & phylogeny, 65(1): 7–14. PDF
  • Wootton, R.J. 2002: Design, function and evolution in the wings of holometabolous insects. Zoologica Scripta, 31: 31-40.
  • Whiting, M.F. 2002: Phylogeny of the holometabolous insect orders: molecular evidence. Zoologica Scripta, 31: 3-15.

Vernacular names

English: Complete Metamorphosis Insects
日本語: 内翅類
Türkçe: Tümbaşkalaşmalı böcekler
中文: 内翅總目
Wikimedia Commons For more multimedia, look at Endopterygota on Wikimedia Commons.

Simple English

The Endopterygota (sometimes called Holometabola), are insects of the subclass Pterygota which go through different larval, pupal, and adult stages. They go through a basic metamorphosis, with the larval and adult stages differing very much in their behavior. This is called holometabolism, or complete metamorphism.


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