This tree diagram shows the relationships between several groups of organisms.
The root of the current tree connects the organisms featured in this tree to their containing group and the rest of the Tree of Life. The basal branching point in the tree represents the ancestor of the other groups in the tree. This ancestor diversified over time into several descendent subgroups, which are represented as internal nodes and terminal taxa to the right.
You can click on the root to travel down the Tree of Life all the way to the root of all Life, and you can click on the names of descendent subgroups to travel up the Tree of Life all the way to individual species.
For more information on ToL tree formatting, please see Interpreting the Tree or Classification. To learn more about phylogenetic trees, please visit our Phylogenetic Biology pages.close box
The neopterous insects include the Hemipteroid Assemblage, Endopterygota, as well as the "lower Neoptera". The "lower Neoptera" include the Plecoptera, Embidiina, Zoraptera, and the "orthopteroid" orders (all the remaining living orders shown in the tree above).
Neopterous insects primitively have the ability to fold the wings back over their abdomen, using special structures at the base of their wings. Key to the folding mechanism is the third axillary sclerite and pleural wing-folding muscle.
This ability to fold the wings back over the abdomen has been lost in some small groups within Neoptera, including various butterflies and moths.
Discussion of Phylogenetic Relationships
The relationships of the orthopteroid orders to one another, and their relationship to plecopterans (stoneflies), embiids (web-spinners), and zorapterans, are unsettled. The placement of the plecopterans, embiids, and zorapterans are perhaps the most enigmatic.
Hennig (1969, 1981) considered the zorapterans to be sister to the hemipteroid complex, the stoneflies to be relatively basal, and the web-spinners to be the sister group to the orthopteroid orders:
========= Hemipteroid Assemblage ===| ======| ========= Zoraptera | | | ============ Endopterygota | |================= Plecoptera | | ============ Embiidina =====| | | | ====== Orthoptera | | ===| | | | ====== Phasmida ======| | ===| ====== Grylloblattodea | | ===| === Dermaptera ===| === Dictyoptera
Boudreaux (1979) considered the web-spinners to be the sister to stoneflies with zorapterans nested within the orthopteroids:
============ Hemipteroid Assemblage ======| | ============ Endopterygota | | ============ Plecoptera |=====| | ============ Embiidina | | ========= Orthoptera =====| ===| | | ========= Phasmida | | | | ========= Dermaptera ======| | | | ====== Grylloblattodea ===| | ===| === Zoraptera ===| === Dictyoptera
More recent analyses using molecular data have still not been able to establish a well supported hypothesis of neopteran relationships; e.g., Flook and Rowell (1998) suggested the following topology based on their analysis of SSU rRNA sequences (Endopterygota and Zoraptera not included in analysis):
=============== Hemipteroid Assemblage | | ============ Dictyoptera =====| | | | ====== Grylloblattodea | | | | |=====|===== Plecoptera ===| | | ====== Dermaptera | | === Phasmida | ===| ======| === Embiidina | ====== Orthoptera
Wheeler et al. (2001) favor the following relationships based on a combined analysis of morphological and molecular data:
========= Hemipteroid Assemblage ===| | ========= Endopterygota | | ====== Zoraptera | | =====| |===== Dictyoptera | ===| | | |===== Dermaptera | | | | | ====== Grylloblattodea ===| | === Phasmida | ===| | | === Orthoptera ===| | === Embiidina ===| === Plecoptera
The tree shown at the top of this page reflects the cautious views of Kristensen (1991), and is perhaps a clearer indication of our current knowledge about relationships of these orders.
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Tree of Life Web Project. 2003. Neoptera. Version 01 January 2003 (under construction). http://tolweb.org/Neoptera/8267/2003.01.01 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/