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biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Mecoptera (scorpionflies, hangingflies and fleas)

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Ecdysozoa > Panarthropoda > Tritocerebra > Phylum: Arthopoda > Mandibulata > Atelocerata > Panhexapoda > Hexapoda > Insecta (insects) > Dicondyla > Pterygota > Metapterygota > Neoptera > Eumetabola > Holometabola > Panorpida > Antliophora

Recent research has shown that fleas are in fact mecopterans that have evolved to become parasites of mammals. The sister group of fleas is the mecopteran family Boreidae (snow fleas), which is not encountered in Africa.

Taxa encountered in southern Africa

Siphonaptera (fleas)


Bittacidae (hanging flies)




  • Whiting, M.F. 2002. Mecoptera is paraphyletic: multiple genes and phylogeny of Mecoptera and Siphonaptera. Zoologica Scripta 31(1): 93-104.