J. Kalisch, University of Nebraska
Sucking Lice
(anopl = unarmed; ura = tail)


Metamorphosis: gradual (egg to nymph to adult).
Immature: looks like the adult.
Adult: sucking mouthparts, wingless, very small, head slender and pointed.


The sucking lice are ectoparasites of humans and other mammals. Some species vector diseases.

Classification and Groups

9 families and 70 species in North America.
About 500 species worldwide.

Medically Important Families:
Pediculidae: includes the human head and body louse (Pediculus humanus and Pediculus capitis)
Pthiridae: contains the human pubic louse or crab louse (Pthirus pubis).