Insects of Britain and Ireland: the families of Lepidoptera

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L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz



Adults nocturnal; relatively very long-bodied; medium built (wingspan more than 8 and less than 15 times the thoracic width) to heavily built (wingspan less than 8 times the thoracic width). The abdomen conspicuously patterned to plain. Adults not of hymenopterous appearance; wings in repose packed with the forewings directed backwards to cover hindwings and abdomen.

Antennae very short to of medium length; extending to about 0.18–0.48 times the length of the forewing. Antennae of males bipectinate, or lamellate. Ocelli present (rarely), or absent. Maxillary palps much reduced; 1 segmented, or 2 segmented. Labial palps ascending (short to medium); 3 segmented. Proboscis absent.

Wingspan (36–)45–104 mm; 7–10.5 times the thoracic width. Forewings narrow to broad; 2–2.7 times as long as wide. The outer and hind margins angled at 110–120 degrees. The outer margin convexly curved; forewings apically blunt. Hindwings ovate to broadly rounded; similar in breadth to the forewings; with a rounded apex; the upper surfaces conspicuously patterned above (spotted, and/or reticulated and indistinctly lined), or plain; with transverse lines, or with neither discal spot nor transverse lines (without a clear discal spot); with a frenulum.

Neuration of forewings and hindwings dissimilar. Forewings 13 veined; with 2 anal veins. The anal veins of the forewings comprising 1b and 1c. Forewings exhibiting a tubular vein 1c. Vein 1b of the forewings furcate proximally. The transverse vein complete, or incomplete. Forewings with an accessory cell. Discal cell of the forewings containing a tubular media (M) vein (this forked, like that of the hindwings). Hindwings 10 veined; with 3 anal veins. The anal veins of the hindwings comprising 1a, 1b and 1c. Hindwings exhibiting vein 1a; exhibiting a tubular vein 1c. Vein 1b of the hindwings furcate proximally to simple. The transverse vein complete. 6 veins arising from the hindwing cell. The cell-derived hindwing veins all arising independently of one another, or 6+7 proximally joined. Vein 8 of the hindwings completely independent of the cell; not approximating to vein 7.

Fore-legs with a tibial epiphysis. Tibiae of middle legs without spurs, or 2-spurred. Posterior tibiae without spurs, or 4-spurred.

Eggs, larvae and pupae. Eggs not flattened; smooth or minutely pitted. Larval prolegs 10. Larvae concealed feeders; wood- or stem- boring. Feeding in stems of grasses and the wood of various deciduous trees.

Pupae concealed; in stems, or in wood (in the larval galleries). Empty pupae protruded from place of concealment.

British representation. Genera 3; 3 species. Cossus cossus (Goat Moth), Phragmataecia castaneae (Reed Leopard), Zeuzera pyrina (The Leopard Moth).

Classification. Macromoths. Suborder Ditrysia. Superfamily Cossidoidea.

Illustrations. • Cossus, Phragmataecia, Zeuzera: Newman. • Cossus, Phragmataecia, Zeuzera: Kirby 26 (part). • Cossus cossus (Goat Moth: B. Ent. 60). • Cossus cossus (legend+text: B. Ent. 60). • Cossus cossus (Goat Moth: Shaw and Nodder, about 1807). • Cossus cossus (Goat Moth: Shaw and Nodder, text). • Cossus cossus (Goat Moth: Shaw and Nodder, text cont.). • Cossus, Zeuzera: neuration. • Zeuzera pyrina (Wood Leopard): B. Ent. 722. • Zeuzera pyrina: B. Ent. 722, legend+text. • Zeuzera pyrina: B. Ent. 722, text cont.. • Zeuzera pyrina (Leopard Moth - specimen).

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.’.