Mecoptera is paraphyletic: multiple genes and phylogeny of Mecoptera and Siphonaptera


Michael F. Whiting, Department of Zoology, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602, USA. E-mail:


Phylogenetic relationships among members of the Mecoptera and Siphonaptera were inferred from DNA sequence data. Four loci (18S and 28S ribosomal DNA, cytochrome oxidase II and elongation factor-1α) were sequenced for 69 taxa selected to represent major flea and mecopteran lineages. Phylogenetic analyses of these data support a paraphyletic Mecoptera with two major lineages: Nannochoristidae + (Siphonaptera + Boreidae) and Meropidae + ((Choristidae + Apteropanorpidae) (Panorpidae + (Panorpidae + Bittacidae))). The flea family Ctenophthalmidae is paraphyletic, and the Ceratophylloidea is monophyletic. Morphological evidence is discussed which is congruent with the placement of Siphonaptera as sister group to Boreidae.