What Bug Is That? The guide to Australian insect families.

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This family, much the largest of the suborder, is world-wide in distribution, and occurs on all orders of birds that have been studied sufficiently. Approximately 40 native species in about 20 genera have been recorded from Australian birds. Roberts (1952) lists those recorded from poultry and the domestic pigeon, among the more important being Menacanthus stramineus and Menopon gallinae on fowls and Colpocephalum turbinatum on pigeons.


Head relatively large; mouth-parts mandibulate. Antennae concealed in grooves, generally capitate, usually 4-segmented, 3rd segment wineglass-shaped; mandibles horizontal; maxillary palps 2-4-segmented; meso- and metathorax usually separate. Tarsi with paired claws; on birds, marsupials, canids. Without a combinstion of the following; head elongate, with strong swelling of lateral margins in front of eye, followed by approximately parallel lateral margins to horizontal (flattened or concave) anterior margin; base of antennae widely removed posteriorly from base of maxillary palps; lateral area posterior to eye with rows of minute projections; hind femur and some sternites with dense patches of microtrichia

  • Menacanthus stramineus from Gallus gallus (domestic chicken) male