Read more about insect sub-classes

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ApterygotaPrimitive wingless insects with incomplete metamorphosis.

The Apterygota, which formerly included the other primitively wingless insects currently placed in the class Entognatha, are now restricted to the two orders Archaeognatha and Zygentoma, which in turn were formerly united as the Thysanura.

Despite the superficial similarity of the two groups, it is now clear that they are not closely related, mainly because of fundamental differences in the mouthparts.

The Archaeognathous mandibles are monocondylic, having a single articulating point with the head so that the mandible can rotate.

The Zygentomous mandibles are dicondylic, with two articulating points that restrict the motion to a single plane yet enable the development of a much stronger biting action; this is the type found in all the higher insects, and the Zygentoma may well be the sister group of the Pterygota, or winged insects.

Clearly the ‘Apterygota’ is not a monophyletic group and is simply retained for convenience in grouping these two orders that superficially resemble each other and have similar life histories.

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Insect orders in this sub-class

Silverfish and firebrats
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