Insects of Britain and Ireland: the families of Lepidoptera

DELTA home

L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz


The key and descriptions were generated from a DELTA database (Dallwitz 1980; Dallwitz, Paine, and Zurcher 1993).


Interactive key, including interactive information retrieval • Hints on using the interactive key

The interactive key allows free choice of characters, is easy to use, and can lead to correct identifications in spite of occasional errors. It can display all the illustrations, full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting or lacking specified attributes, and distributions of character states within any set of taxa.

Character list •  General morphology of Lepidoptera • Implicit attributes

DELTA data files – see also Guidelines for using data taken from Web publications

Notes on John Curtis’s British Entomology • Notes on Edward Newman’s British Moths and British Butterflies • Updated insect names for John Curtis’s British Entomology • Updated plant names for John Curtis’s British Entomology • Updated legends for Stainton’s Natural History of the Tineina • Updated legends for Jacob Hübner’s Sammlung europäischer Schmetterlinge • Notes on melanism in British moths • Notes on the scanning of the images

Poems on insects by Giles Watson

Acknowledgements • References • Citation • Contacts, conditions of use, contributions


These descriptions are offered for casual browsing only. We strongly advise against extracting comparative information from them. This is much more easily achieved using the interactive key.

The bold parts in the descriptions are diagnostic descriptions, generated with the aid of Intkey (Dallwitz, Paine, and Zurcher 1995). They distinguish most taxa in at least one respect from the other taxa.

• Adelidae • Alucitidae • Arctiidae • Autostichidae

• Blastobasidae

• Choreutidae • Cochylidae • Coleophoridae • Cossidae • Crambidae • Ctenuchidae

• Danaidae • Douglasiidae • Drepanidae

• Elachistidae • Endromidae • Epermeniidae • Eriocraniidae • Ethmiidae • Eucosmidae

• Gelechiidae • Geometridae • Glyphipterygidae • Gracillariidae

• Heliodinidae • Heliozelidae • Hepialidae • Hesperiidae • Hieroxestidae

• Incurvariidae

• Lasiocampidae • Limacodidae • Lycaenidae • Lymantriidae • Lyonetiidae

• Micropterigidae • Momphidae

• Nepticulidae • Noctuidae • Nolidae • Notodontidae • Nymphalidae

• Oecophoridae • Opostegidae

• Papilionidae • Phyllocnistidae • Pieridae • Psychidae • Pyralidae • Pterophoridae

• Riodinidae

• Saturniidae • Satyridae • Schreckensteiniidae • Scythridae • Sesiidae • Sphingidae • Stathmopodidae

• Thyatiridae • Tineidae • Tischeriidae • Tortricidae

• Yponomeutidae

• Zygaenidae

Cite this publication as: ‘Watson, L., and Dallwitz, M.J. 2003 onwards. Insects of Britain and Ireland: the families of Lepidoptera. Version: 8th June 2016.’.

Insect groups treated separately in the ‘Insects of Britain and Ireland’ package

DELTA home DELTA home page