Insects of Britain and Ireland: the families of Lepidoptera

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L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz


Agapetidae, Commophilidae, Conchylidae, Lozoperidae, Phaloniadae, Phaloniidae; more recently treated as Tortricidae subfamily Cochylinae, and lately further demoted to the tribe Cochylini of the subfamily Tortricinae!.

Adults relatively medium-bodied to long-bodied (?); medium built (wingspan more than 8 and less than 15 times the thoracic width); wings in repose packed with the forewings directed backwards to cover hindwings and abdomen.

Head rough (-scaled). Antennae very short to of medium length; extending to about 0.4–0.7 times the length of the forewing (less than 2/3); not clubbed. Antennae of males simple (?); simply-ciliate. The antennal scape not forming an ‘eye cap’. Eyes glabrous. Ocelli present (usually). Chaetosemata present. Maxillary palps much reduced to absent (reduced to small papillae); 1 segmented. Labial palps porrect (long); 3 segmented. Proboscis fully developed; not scaly.

Wingspan 9–22(–25) mm; 9–12 times the thoracic width (?). Forewings narrow to broad; about 2.2–2.7 times as long as wide. Tornus clearly defined, or clearly defined to weakly defined. The outer margin convexly curved; forewings apically blunt to pointed; forewings predominantly shining-metallic, or exhibiting shining-metallic markings, or neither shining-metallic nor with shining metallic markings; forewings without eye-spots above. Hindwings ovate to broadly rounded, or broadly angular; similar in breadth to the forewings; with a rounded apex; the upper surfaces plain; with neither discal spot nor transverse lines; with a frenulum.

Neuration of forewings and hindwings dissimilar. Forewings 12 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 strongly furcate proximally. The transverse vein complete, or incomplete. Forewings with an accessory cell, or without an accessory cell. Discal cell of the forewings containing a tubular media (M) vein, or without a tubular media (M) vein. Vein 2 of the forewings departing from the hind margin of the cell in its distal quarter. Hindwings (9–)10 veined; with 3 anal veins. The anal veins of the hindwings comprising 1a and 1b, or comprising 1a, 1b and 1c. Hindwings exhibiting vein 1a; exhibiting a tubular vein 1c (cf. Meyrick), or lacking a tubular vein 1c (usually, or this reduced, according to Common). Vein 1b of the hindwings furcate proximally. The transverse vein complete. The hindwing cell without a cubital pecten of hairs. 6 veins arising from the hindwing cell. The cell-derived hindwing veins all arising independently of one another, or 3+4 proximally joined, or 6+7 proximally joined, or 3+4 proximally joined and 6+7 proximally joined. Vein 8 of the hindwings completely independent of the cell (mostly), or anastomosing with the upper margin of the cell (but mostly only approximating); not approximating to vein 7.

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

Eggs, larvae and pupae. Eggs markedly flattened; smooth or minutely pitted to ribbed and/or reticulate. Larval prolegs 10. Larvae concealed feeders (mostly inside flowers and seeding heads, sometimes passing into the roots); subterranean, or not subterranean. Associated with divers woody and herbaceous Dicots, seemingly avoiding Monocots.

Pupae concealed; usually above the ground (where the larvae fed). Empty pupae protruded from place of concealment.

British representation. Genera 14 (1 adventive only); about 50 species (1 adventive). Cochylidia rupicola (Chalk-cliff Tortrix or Conch), Cochylis roseana (Roseate Conch), Cochylis hybridella (False Thistle Conch), etc.

Classification. Microlepidoptera. Suborder Ditrysia. Superfamily Tortricoidea.

Meyrick (1927) presented the Tortricoidea (his Torticina) as the three families Phaloniadae (called here Cochylidae), Tortricidae and Eucosmidae. Bradley et al. (1972, cf. Common,1970) maintained the same sequences of genera, but as only two families, Torticidae and Cochylidae, with the Eucosmidae demoted to a subfamily of the Tortricidae under the name Olethreutinae. In the latest update, Bradley (2000) retains essentially the same series of genera, but now offers a single family, (Tortricidae sens. lat.), with two large subfamilies, Tortricinae and Olethreutinae (plus subfamily Chlidanotinae with only Olindia and Isotrias). In this version, by contrast with the earlier one, the Olethreutinae (i.e., the former Eucosmidae) are emphasized nomenclaturally as a subfamily, while the Cochylidae are now disguised as the unnamed opening sequence of genera in the Tortricidae-Tortricinae. Other modern treatments retain the old Cochylidae as tribe Cochylini in the Tortricinae! Exasperating hierachical and nomenclatural changes and reversions involving much the same old generic groupings, reflecting transient phylogenetic notions of no practical classificatory value, have bedevilled taxonomy for the past century, and have brought the discipline widely into disrepute. It is to be hoped that in time, taxonomic application of comparative nucleic acid sequencing will put a brake on them, by permitting reliable assessment of genetic relationships and taking the fun out of idle phylogenetic speculation. Meanwhile, sequencing studies of inadequate nucleic acid samples (i.e., unrepresentative of whole organisms) can be expected to complicate matters still further.

Comments. Antennae usually with two rings of scales per flagellar segment. Fore-wings usually with a central fascia parallel to the termen, with or without a pre-apical costal patch, and without an ocellus. Female genitalia having the sterigma connected with the ventral arms of the anterior apophyses. Pheromones supposedly based on a 14-carbon chain. Larvae commonly internal feeders, usually in flowers or seed-heads but sometimes passing into roots..

Illustrations. • Aethes, Cochylis, Phalonidia, Phtheochroa: Wilkinson. • Aethes, Agapeta, Cochylis: Stainton. • Cochylidia rupicola (Chalk-cliff Tortrix, Conch: B. Ent. 491). • Cochylidia rupicola: B. Ent. 491, legend+text. • Cochylidia rupicola: B. Ent. 491, text cont.. • Agapeta spp.: Kirby 55. Agapeta hamana (left) and A. zoegana. • Tortricinae-Cochylini. Cochylis, Eupoecilia, Gynnidomorpha permixtana: Hübner VII, 1796–1817. • Tortricinae-Cochylini. Agapeta, Cochylis, Commophila, Eugnosta, Prochlidonia: Hübner VII, 1796–1813. • Tortricinae-Cochylini. Aethes decimana, A. hartmanniana, A. rubigana, A. smeathmanniana, A. tesserana: Hübner VII, 1796–1719. • Tortricinae-Cochylini. Cochylis roseana (rubellana): Hübner VII, 1823. • Tortricinae-Cochylini: Ptheochroa rugosana and Hysterosia (Ptheochroa) schreibersiana: Hübner VII, 1796–1830. • Tortricinae-Cochylini. Aethes, Cochylis, Eupoecilia, Falseuncaria: Hübner VIII, 1796–1813. • Cochylomorpha alternana: Stephens IV, 1834. • Cochylis roseana: Stephens IV, 1834. • Aethes tesserana: neuration. • Eupoecilia angustana: neuration.

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.’.