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Pthirus gorillae.jpg
Pthirus gorillae
Pthirus pubis - crab louse.jpg
Pthirus pubis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Phthiraptera
Family: Pthiridae
Leach, 1817
Genus: Pthirus
Leach, 1817[1]

Pthirus is a genus of lice. There are only two extant species.[2] Pthirus gorillae infests gorillas,[3] and Pthirus pubis afflicts humans, and is commonly known as the crab louse or pubic louse.[4] The two species diverged some 3.3 million years ago.[5]

Since 1958 the generic name Pthirus has been spelled with pth rather than phth, despite this being based on a misspelling of the Greek-derived phthirus.[6]


  1. ^ Edinburgh Encyclopaedia 9: 77.
  2. ^ May R. Berenbaum (2009). The earwig's tail: a modern bestiary of multi-legged legends. Harvard University Press. p. 27. ISBN 978-0-674-03540-9. 
  3. ^ David L. Reed; Jessica E. Light; Julie M. Allen; Jeremy J. Kirchman (2007). "Pair of lice lost or parasites regained: the evolutionary history of anthropoid primate lice". BMC Biology. 5: 7. doi:10.1186/1741-7007-5-7. PMC 1828715Freely accessible. PMID 17343749. 
  4. ^ Ronald P. Rapini, Jean L. Bolognia & Joseph L. Jorizzo (2007). Dermatology. St. Louis, Missouri: Mosby. ISBN 1-4160-2999-0. 
  5. ^ Weiss RA (2009). "Apes, lice and prehistory". J. Biol. 8: 20. doi:10.1186/jbiol114. PMC 2687769Freely accessible. PMID 19232074. 
  6. ^ Taxonomy of Human Lice

External links[edit]

  • Data related to Pthirus at Wikispecies