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Temporal range: Pennsylvanian – Recent
Panorpa communis, a scorpionfly (order Mecoptera)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Infraclass: Neoptera
Superorder: Endopterygota
Sharp, 1898

The Endopterygota (or Holometabola), are insects of the subclass Pterygota.

They have complete metamorphosis. This means they go through different larval, pupal, and adult stages. The larval and adult stages differ very much in their anatomy and behavior. This is called holometabolism, or complete metamorphism.

They are distinguished from the Exopterygota (or Hemipterodea) by the way in which their wings develop. Endopterygota ("internal winged forms") develop wings inside the body during metamorphosis.[1]

The earliest endopterygote fossils date from the Carboniferous.[2]


  1. Rolf G. Beutel & Hans Pohl. "Endopterygote systematics – where do we stand and what is the goal (Hexapoda, Arthropoda)?". Systematic Entomology 31 (2): 202–219. doi:10.1111/j.1365-3113.2006.00341.x .
  2. A. Nel et al. (2007). "The earliest holometabolous insect from the Carboniferous: a "crucial" innovation with delayed success (Insecta Protomeropina Protomeropidae)". Annales de la Société Entomologique de France 43 (3): 349–355.