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Philopteridae (order Phthiraptera, suborder Ischnocera) Family of chewing lice which are parasitic on birds of many orders. This family is the largest in the Ischnocera, and its members differ from those of the others in not having an entire front margin to the head, and in having two tarsal claws to each leg. All species are believed to feed on fragments of feather and dead skin. As with other Ischnocera, many male Philopteridae use their antennae to clasp the female during copulation, and in one genus, Harrisoniella, the male antennae are much larger than the front legs, which have taken on a sensory function. There are 100 genera, and 1500 species.

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