Insects of Britain and Ireland: the families of Lepidoptera

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L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz


Amatidae, Syntomidae.

Adults relatively very long-bodied; relatively slender-bodied (wingspan more than 15 times the thoracic width). The abdomen conspicuously patterned (banded), or plain. Adults wings in repose packed with the forewings directed backwards to cover hindwings and abdomen.

Antennae very short to of medium length; extending to about 0.5–0.56 times the length of the forewing. Antennae of males simple (?); non-ciliate. Eyes glabrous. Ocelli present, or absent. Chaetosemata absent. Maxillary palps much reduced; 1 segmented. Labial palps porrect; 3 segmented. Proboscis fully developed; not scaly.

Wingspan 24–26 mm; 15–22 times the thoracic width. Forewings narrow to broad; 1.8–2.5 times as long as wide. The outer and hind margins angled at about 115 degrees. The outer margin convexly curved; forewings apically blunt; ground colour predominantly translucent light brown; forewings without a jugum. Hindwings ovate, or broadly angular; very much narrower than the forewings to quite markedly narrower than the forewings. Hindwing width 0.5–0.6 times that of the forewings. Hindwings with a rounded apex; the upper surfaces conspicuously patterned above (black with white spots, in Syntomea), or plain; with neither discal spot nor transverse lines; with a frenulum.

Neuration of forewings and hindwings dissimilar. Forewings 11 veined; with 1 anal vein. The anal veins of the forewings representing 1b only. Forewings lacking a tubular vein 1c. Vein 1b of the forewings minutely furcate proximally, or obsoletely furcate. The transverse vein incomplete. Discal cell of the forewings without a tubular media (M) vein. Hindwings 5 veined, or 6 veined; with 1 anal vein. The anal veins of the hindwings probably representing 1b only. Hindwings exhibiting vein 1a; exhibiting a tubular vein 1c, or lacking a tubular vein 1c (?). The transverse vein incomplete. 4 veins arising from the hindwing cell, or 5 veins arising from the hindwing cell (one unidentified vein missing, in addition to vein 8). The cell-derived hindwing veins 4+5 proximally joined (? - with one pair connate to stalked). Hindwing lacking vein 8, which is wholly coincident with the cell and vein 7.

Fore-legs with a tibial epiphysis. Tibiae of middle legs 2-spurred. Posterior tibiae 4-spurred.

Tympanal organs present, or absent (reduced); if detectable, metathoracic.

Eggs, larvae and pupae. Larval prolegs 10. Larvae conspicuously, densely long-hairy; exposed feeders (on epidendritic lichens).

Pupae concealed (in a white, silken cocoon); above the ground. Empty pupae not becoming protruded.

British representation. Genera 2 (both adventive); 5 species (all adventive). E.g., Dysauxes ancilla (Handmaid).

Classification. Macromoths. Suborder Ditrysia. Superfamily Noctuoidea.

Illustrations. • Syntomia, Dysauxes: imagines and venation. • Dysauxes ancilla (Handmaiden: Newman).

To view the illustrations with detailed captions, go to the interactive key. This also offers 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.

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.’.