Endopterygota, also known as Holometabola, is a superorder of insects
within the infraclass
Neoptera that 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
Endopterygota are among the most diverse insect superorders, with
about 850,000 living species divided between 11 orders, containing
insects such as butterflies, flies, 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 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.
The earliest endopterygote fossils date from the Carboniferous.
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Holometabolism stages in Hymenoptera.
ITIS considers any subdivision of the
Neoptera beyond the orders
invalid, but this is almost universally rejected.
Endopterygota are sometimes divided into three assemblages:
Neuropteroida (Neuroptera, Megaloptera, Raphidioptera, and
Hymenopteroida (Hymenoptera), and Panorpoida
(Siphonaptera, Diptera, Trichoptera, Lepidoptera, Strepsiptera, and
Mecoptera). The hymenopterans, with their highly developed social
systems, were believed to have 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 seem 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.
Endopterygota sensu stricto
Megaloptera (alderflies and allies)
Neuroptera (lacewings and allies)
Strepsiptera (twisted-wing parasites)
Hymenoptera (sawflies, wasps, ants, bees)
Diptera (true flies)
Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths)
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Endopterygota.
^ Rolf G. Beutel; Hans Pohl (2006). "Endopterygote systematics –
where do we stand and what is the goal (Hexapoda, Arthropoda)?".
Systematic Entomology. 31 (2): 202–219.
^ A. Nel; P. Roques; P. Nel; J. Prokop; J. S. Steyer (2007). "The
earliest holometabolous insect from the Carboniferous: a "crucial"
innovation with delayed success (Insecta Protomeropina
Protomeropidae)". Annales de la Société Entomologique de France. 43
Archaeognatha (jumping bristletails)
Thysanura (Zygentoma) (silverfish, firebrats)
Odonata (dragonflies, damselflies)
Phasmatodea (stick and leaf insects)
Notoptera (ice-crawlers, gladiators)
Orthoptera (crickets, wetas, grasshoppers, locusts)
Zoraptera (angel insects)
Blattodea (cockroaches, termites)
Psocodea (barklice, lice)
Hemiptera (cicadas, aphids, true bugs)
Hymenoptera (sawflies, wasps, ants, bees)
Strepsiptera (twisted-winged parasites)
Megaloptera (alderflies, dobsonflies, fishflies)
Neuroptera (net-winged insects: lacewings, mantidflies, antlions)
Mecoptera (scorpionflies) +
Diptera (gnats, mosquitoes, flies)
Lepidoptera (moths, butterflies)
Four most speciose orders are marked in bold
Italic are paraphyletic groups
Based on Sasaki et al. (2013)
Extinct incertae sedis families and genera are marked in italic