The Pterygota are a subclass of insects that includes the winged insects. It also includes insect orders that are secondarily wingless (that is, insect groups whose ancestors once had wings but that have lost them as a result of subsequent evolution).[1]

The pterygotan group comprises almost all insects. The insect orders not included are the Archaeognatha (jumping bristletails) and the Zygentoma (silverfishes and firebrats), two primitively wingless insect orders. Also not included are the three orders no longer considered to be insects: Protura, Collembola, and Diplura.

Temporal range: Late Carboniferous–Recent
Gaint Honey Bee (Apis dorsata) on Tribulus terrestris W IMG 1020
Giant honey bee Apis dorsata on Tribulus terrestris (order Hymenoptera)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
(unranked): Dicondylia
Subclass: Pterygota
Lang, 1888
Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies)
Infraclass: Neoptera

For alternative classifications and fossil orders, see text.


Traditionally, this group was divided into the infraclasses Paleoptera and Neoptera. The former are nowadays strongly suspected of being paraphyletic, and better treatments (such as dividing or dissolving the group) are presently being discussed. In addition, it is not clear how exactly the neopterans are related among each other. The Exopterygota might be a similar assemblage of rather ancient hemimetabolous insects among the Neoptera like the Palaeoptera are among insects as a whole. The holometabolous Endopterygota seem to be very close relatives, indeed, but nonetheless appear to contain several clades of related orders, the status of which is not agreed upon.

The following scheme uses finer divisions than the one above, which is not well-suited to correctly accommodating the fossil groups.

Infraclass Palaeoptera

(probably paraphyletic)

Infraclass Neoptera

Superorder Exopterygota

Superorder Endopterygota

Neoptera orders incertae sedis


  1. ^ Vincent H. Resh; Ring T. Cardé (4 April 2003). Encyclopedia of Insects. Academic Press. p. 64. ISBN 978-0-08-054605-6.

External links

Media related to Pterygota at Wikimedia Commons


Chrysopoidea is a lacewing superfamily in the suborder Hemerobiiformia.


The dustywings, Coniopterygidae, are a family of Pterygota (winged insects) of the net-winged insect order (Neuroptera). About 460 living species are known. These tiny insects can usually be determined to genus with a hand lens according to their wing venation, but to distinguish species, examination of the genitals by microscope is usually necessary.


The Dicondylia are a taxonomic group (taxon) that includes all insects except the jumping bristletails (Archaeognatha). Dicondylia have a mandible attached with two hinges to the head capsule (dicondyl), in contrast to the original mandible with a single ball joint (monocondyl).


The order Embioptera, commonly known as webspinners, are a small group of mostly tropical and subtropical insects, classified under the subclass Pterygota. The order has also been referred to as Embiodea or Embiidina. The name Embioptera ("lively wings") comes from Greek, εμβιος, embios meaning "lively" and πτερον, pteron meaning "wing", a name that has not been considered to be particularly descriptive for this group of fliers, perhaps instead referring to their remarkable speed of movement both forward and backward. The group probably first appeared during the Jurassic and is well represented in Cretaceous amber. The common name webspinner comes from the insects' unique ability to spin silk from structures on their front legs. They use the silk to make a web-like pouch or gallery in which they live.

Over 360 embiopteran species have been described, along with estimates of around 2000 species being in existence today. There is some debate as to the exact phylogenetic classification of Embioptera, with the order having been classed as a sister group to both orders Zoraptera, and Phasmatodea, and there is continuing dispute today concerning the accuracy of these classifications.The order is distributed all over the world, being found on every continent except Antarctica, with the highest density and diversity of species being located in tropical regions.


Ensifera is a suborder of insects that includes the various types of crickets and their allies including: true crickets, camel crickets, bush crickets or katydids, grigs, wetas and Cooloola monsters. It and the suborder Caelifera (grasshoppers and their allies) make up the order Orthoptera. Ensifera is believed to be a more ancient group than Caelifera, with its origins in the Carboniferous period, the split having occurred at the end of the Permian period. Unlike the Caelifera, the Ensifera contain numerous members that are partially carnivorous, feeding on other insects as well as plants.

"Ensifer" is Latin for "sword bearer", and refers to the typically elongated and blade-like ovipositor of the females.


The Exopterygota, also known as Hemipterodea, are a superorder of insects of the subclass Pterygota in the infraclass Neoptera, in which the young resemble adults but have externally developing wings. They undergo a modest change between immature and adult, without going through a pupal stage. The nymphs develop gradually into adults through a process of moulting.

The Exopterygota are a highly diverse insect superorder, with at least 130,000 living species divided between 15 orders. They include cockroaches, termites, grasshoppers, thrips, lice and stick insects, among many other types of insects.

They are distinguished from the Endopterygota (or Holometabola) 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 of their bodies without going through a true pupal stage, though a few have something resembling a pupa (e.g., Aleyrodidae).

Ephemeroptera (mayflies) and Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies) also have gradual wing development, this being a plesiomorphic trait. These two orders belong to the infraclass Palaeoptera however, which is not included in Neoptera. As opposed to Neoptera, they cannot fold their wings over their back in the horizontal plane, only vertically (as damselflies do) if at all.


Heteroneura is a natural group (or clade) in the insect order Lepidoptera that comprises over 99% of all butterflies and moths. This is the sister group of the infraorder Exoporia (swift moths and their relatives), and is characterised by wing venation which is not similar or homoneurous in both pairs of wings.

Hopea pterygota

Hopea pterygota is a species of plant in the family Dipterocarpaceae. It is endemic to northern Borneo (Brunei and Sarawak).


Koto may refer to:

Koto (instrument), a Japanese musical instrument

Koto (traditional clothing), a traditional dress made by Creole women in Suriname

Koto (band), an Italian-Dutch synth pop group

Koto, Tokyo, a ward of Tokyo

Koto (kana), a ligature of two Japanese katakana

The novel The Old Capital by Yasunari Kawabata, originally titled Koto in Japanese

KOTO (FM), a National Public Radio-affiliated radio station licensed to the U.S. town of Telluride, Colorado

KOTO experiment, a particle physics experiment at J-PARC in Japan

Pterygota bequaertii, a timber species referred to by the trade name "Koto"


Metapterygota is a clade of winged insects containing order Odonata and Infraclass Neoptera.


Neoptera (from New Latin neo "new" and ptera "wing") is a classification group that includes most parts of the winged insects, specifically those that can flex their wings over their abdomens. This is in contrast with the more basal orders of winged insects (the "Palaeoptera" assemblage), which are unable to flex their wings in this way.


The wingless insect order Notoptera, a group first proposed in 1915, has been largely unused since its original conception, but in the most recent classification of the lineage of insects that includes the Grylloblattodea and Mantophasmatodea, the name was resurrected and redefined so as to give a single order that includes both the living and fossil representatives of the lineage.


The name Palaeoptera (from New Latin pale "old" and ptera "wing") has been traditionally applied to those ancestral groups of winged insects (most of them extinct) that lacked the ability to fold the wings back over the abdomen as characterizes the Neoptera. The Diaphanopterodea, which are palaeopteran insects, had independently and uniquely evolved a different wing-folding mechanism. Both mayflies and dragonflies lack any of the smell centers in their brain found in Neoptera.


The cohort Polyneoptera is probably the most appropriate taxonomic ranking for commonly-used terms such as Orthopteroid insects: namely the orders similar to the Orthoptera (grasshoppers, crickets, etc.). They are all winged insects (Pterygota), derived from ancestors that evolved to fold their wings (Neoptera) and possess biting mouthparts, but undergo little or no metamorphosis.

Pterygota (plant)

Pterygota is a genus of flowering plants in the family Malvaceae.

In older systems of classification, it was placed in Sterculiaceae, but all members of that family are now in an expanded Malvaceae.

Pterygota has a pantropical distribution.

Pterygota bequaertii

Pterygota bequaertii is a species of flowering plant in the family Malvaceae. It is found in Cameroon, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Ghana, and Nigeria. It is threatened by exploitation as a timber tree. The wood has the trade name koto.

Pterygota macrocarpa

Pterygota macrocarpa is a species of flowering plant in the family Malvaceae. It is found in Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. It is threatened by habitat loss.


Sterculioideae is a subfamily of the Malvaceae family containing evergreen and deciduous trees and shrubs.

A 2006 molecular study indicated the Sterculioideae was most likely to be a monophyletic group, and that it had four major clades within it. However, the relationships between the clades were not resolved.The clades consist of a:

Cola clade, with the genera Cola and Octolobus of Africa and Pterygota of Africa, South America and southeast Asia forming a subclade, Hildegardia and Firmiana forming a second and Scaphium and Pterocymbium a third.

Heritiera clade comprising the genus Heritiera

Sterculia clade comprising the large genus Sterculia of Africa and Asia.

Brachychiton clade of Australasian and New Caledonian species, including Brachychiton, Acropogon, Argyrodendron and Franciscodendron.

Extant Arthropoda classes by subphylum
(Crustacea +
+ Hexapoda)
Insect orders


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