Celastrina argiolus (Lepidoptera)
Micropterna sequax (Trichoptera)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Superorder: Panorpida
(unranked): Amphiesmenoptera
Kiriakoff, 1948

Amphiesmenoptera is an insect superorder, established by S. G. Kiriakoff,[1] but often credited to Willi Hennig in his revision of insect taxonomy for two sister orders: Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) and Trichoptera (caddisflies).

Trichoptera and Lepidoptera share a number of derived characters (synapomorphies) which demonstrate their common descent:

Thus the two sister orders are grouped into the Amphiesmenoptera. The group probably evolved in the Jurassic, diverging from the extinct Necrotaulidae.[2] Lepidoptera differ from the Trichoptera in several features, including wing venation, form of the scales on the wings, loss of the cerci, loss of an ocellus, and changes to the legs.[2]

Amphiesmenoptera are thought to be the sister group of Antliophora, a proposed superorder comprising Diptera (flies), Siphonaptera (fleas) and Mecoptera (scorpionflies). Together, Amphiesmenoptera and Antliophora compose the group Mecopterida.[3]


  1. S. G. Kiriakoff (1948). "A classification of the Lepidoptera and related groups with some remarks on taxonomy". Biologisch Jaarboek. 15: 118–143.
  2. 1 2 3 D. Grimaldi; M. S. Engel (2005). Evolution of the Insects. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-82149-5.
  3. M. F. Whiting; J. C. Carpenter; Q. D. Wheeler; W. C. Wheeler (March 1997). "The Strepsiptera problem: phylogeny of the holometabolous insect orders inferred from 18S and 28S ribosomal DNA sequences and morphology". Systematic Biology. 46 (1): 1–68. doi:10.1093/sysbio/46.1.1. PMID 11975347.
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