Molecular systematics of Goniodidae (Insecta: Phthiraptera)

K. P. Johnson, R. J. Adams, D. H. Clayton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The higher level phylogenetic relationships within the avian feather lice (Insecta: Phthiraptera: Ischnocera) are extremely problematic. Here we investigate the relationships of 1 family (Goniodidae), sometimes recognized as distinct within Ischnocera, using parsimony and likelihood analyses of nuclear and mitochondrial DNA sequences. These data support monophyly for a restricted definition of traditional Goniodidae, but recognition of this family would result in paraphyly of the large heterogeneous family Philopteridae. We show that the New World Chelopistes is not related to other members of Goniodidae, despite similarities in morphology, but rather is the sister taxon to Oxylipeurus. Within Goniodidae, genera are divided into those occurring on Galliformes (the Goniodes complex) and those occurring on Columbiformes (the Coloceras complex). Within the well-sampled Coloceras complex, or Physconelloidinae, several groups are identified. However, traditionally recognized genera such as Coloceras and Physconelloides appear to be paraphyletic. Whereas the phylogeny of Goniodidae reflects some aspects of host relationships, biogeography also influences coevolutionary history.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)862-869
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Parasitology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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