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Maternal Care of newly-hatched Bark Lice

Cerastipsocus sp.


Two small patches of baby (1st instar) Bark Lice with their mother attending to them. Each patch must have had about 120 babies each. They were black with bright yellow stripes. From even just half a meter away they looked like patches of lichen (see last picture). The mother moved among them touching their heads. The mother is about 8 mm in length, one of the larger species (see previous spotting of adult ( Some species give birth to live babies. Bark Lice have chewing mouthparts and feed on lichens, fungi and other organic debris on tree trunks. I went back to visit them the following night and they had all vanished. I don't know if something ate them or they had moved higher up the tree out of sight. This might be C. venosus, however there are differences in the wing window pattern. Family Psocidae, Order Psocoptera.


Found on smooth lichen-covered bark of a small tree. Forested area within a residential area, San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico 2,200 meters.


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San Cristóbal, Chiapas, Mexico

Spotted on Feb 17, 2019
Submitted on Jul 22, 2019

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