Definition of Mallophaga in US English:


plural noun

  • An order of insects that comprises the biting lice.

    See also Phthiraptera
    • ‘We found feather mites and feather lice (Mallophaga) on all species of birds and at every site.’
    • ‘Label data for all slide-mounted Mallophaga and Anoplura is available in a computer database.’
    • ‘However, none of the birds in our sample suffered from feather breakage when filmed, and effects of Mallophaga on flight behavior through breakage can therefore be excluded as an explanation for our results.’
    • ‘If that were also the case in Barn Swallows, individuals with a high parasite load would have to increase their foraging efficiency through an increase in flapping flight to balance the extra metabolic cost due to Mallophaga.’
    • ‘Others, traditionally grouped in the Mallophaga, are referred to as chewing lice, because their mouthparts are modified for chewing.’


Modern Latin (plural), from Greek mallos ‘lock of wool’ + -phagos ‘eating’.