|Abstract||Both sexes of Abrocomaphthirus hoplai, new genus and new species (Anoplura: Polyplacidae), are described and illustrated. The endemic Chilean chinchilla rat Abrocoma bennetti Waterhouse (Rodentia: Abrocomidae) is the type host. The definition of the family Polyplacidae is amended to accommodate the new genus. Polyplax longa (Werneck), also referred to in the literature as Neohaematopinus longus Werneck, is reassigned to Abrocomaphthirus. The host of A. longus comb.n., is Abrocoma cinerea Thomas, another chinchilla rat, which inhabits parts of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile and Peru. The erection of Abrocomaphthirus as a distinct genus has important zoogeographical and evolutionary implications. The tenuous anomaly of P. longa being the sole native representative of the genus Polyplax in South America, possibly with African affinities, is now refuted. Instead, partial colonization of the neotropics by native species of both Polyplax and Neohaematopinus appears to have been relatively recent and from North America. The phylogenetic affinities of Abrocomaphthirus are unknown, but it appears to be closely related to other, more ancient, native South American polyplacid louse genera, such as Cuyana, Eulinognathus, Galeophthirus, and Lagidiophthirus. Arguments are presented in support of an ancestral zoogeographical link to Africa for these louse genera.