Temporal range: Devonian–Recent 
The name Apterygota is sometimes applied to a subclass of small, agile insects, distinguished from other insects by their lack of wings in the present and in their evolutionary history. Their first known occurrence in the fossil record is during the Devonian period, 417-354 million years ago.
Currently, no species are listed as being at conservation risk.
The primary characteristic of the apterygotes is they are primitively wingless. While some other insects, such as fleas, also lack wings, these are descended from winged insects and have lost them during the course of evolution. By contrast, the apterygotes are a primitive group of insects that diverged from other orders before wings evolved. Apterygotes, however, show directed aerial gliding descent. It has been suggested that provided a preflight phenomenon from which insects were later to evolve their winged flight capacities.
Apterygotes also have a number of other primitive features not shared with other insects. Males deposit sperm packages, or spermatophores, rather than fertilising the female internally. The young hatch closely resembling the adults and undergo no significant metamorphosis, lacking even an identifiable nymphal stage. They continue to moult throughout life, with multiple instars after reaching sexual maturity, whereas all other insects have only a single sexually mature adult instar.
Apterygotes possess small appendages, referred to as "styli" on some of their abdominal segments, although these are not true legs and cannot be used for walking. They also have long, paired abdominal cerci and a single median, tail-like caudal filament.
History of the concept 
The composition and classification of Apterygota changed over time. By the mid 20th century, the subclass included four orders (Collembola, Protura, Diplura, and Thysanura). With the advent of a more rigorous cladistic methodology, the subclass was proven paraphyletic. While the first three groups formed a monophyletic group, the Entognatha, distinguished by having mouthparts submerged in a pocket formed by the lateral and ventral parts of the head capsule, the Thysanura appeared to be more closely related to winged insects. The most notable synapomorphy proving the monophyly of Thysanura+Pterygota is the absence of intrinsic antennal muscles, which connect the antennomeres in entognaths, myriapods, and crustaceans. For this reason, the whole group is often termed the Amyocerata, meaning "lacking antennal muscles".
Moreover, the Thysanura are now assumed to be more closely related to the Pterygota than to the Archaeognatha, thus rendering even the amyocerate apterygotes paraphyletic.
- Hoell, H.V., Doyen, J.T. & Purcell, A.H. (1998). Introduction to Insect Biology and Diversity, 2nd ed. Oxford University Press. p. 320. ISBN 0-19-510033-6.
- Yanoviak SP, Kaspari M, Dudley R. (2009). Gliding hexapods and the origins of insect aerial behaviour. Biol Lett. 5(4):510-2. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2009.0029 PMID 19324632
- Hoell, H.V., Doyen, J.T. & Purcell, A.H. (1998). Introduction to Insect Biology and Diversity, 2nd ed. Oxford University Press. pp. 333–340. ISBN 0-19-510033-6.
- Orders - THYSANURA & ARCHAEOGNATHA
- Firefly Encyclopedia of Insects and Spiders, edited by Christopher O'Toole, ISBN 1-55297-612-2, 2002