Insects of Britain and Ireland: the families of Lepidoptera

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L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz



Adults diurnal, or crepuscular, or nocturnal; 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 (usually closely folded, the moths commonly resting by day in an upright position on grass stems).

Antennae of medium length to long; extending to about 0.58–0.75 times the length of the forewing; not clubbed. Antennae of males dentate, or simple; non-ciliate, or fasciculate-ciliate (?). Ocelli present, or absent. Chaetosemata present, or absent. Maxillary palps well developed; 4 segmented; not folded. Labial palps porrect (long); 3 segmented. Proboscis fully developed; scaly towards the base.

Wingspan (14–)18–26 mm; 11–16 times the thoracic width. Forewings narrow to broad; (1.75–)2–2.6 times as long as wide. The outer and hind margins angled at (90–)100(–110) degrees. The outer margin convexly curved, or sigmoid-curved; forewings apically blunt to pointed. Hindwings ovate, or broadly rounded; similar in breadth to the forewings to markedly broader than the forewings; with a rounded apex; the upper surfaces more or less plain (though often ‘white suffused with grey’, etc.); with neither discal spot nor transverse lines; with a frenulum.

Neuration of forewings and hindwings dissimilar. Forewings 12 veined (rarely, with veins 8 and 9 coincident), or 13 veined; with 2 anal veins. The anal veins of the forewings comprising 1a and 1b. Vein 1b of the forewings obsoletely furcate to simple. Discal cell of the forewings without a tubular media (M) vein. Hindwings 9 veined, or 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; with a discal cell, or without a discal cell (the transverse vein sometimes lacking or vestigial or incomplete). The transverse vein complete to vestigial only. The hindwing cell bearing a pecten of hairs on its cubital margin (towards its base); emitting more than six veins, or emitting no more than six veins. 6 veins arising from the hindwing cell (if vein 5 missing or coincident with 4), or 7 veins arising from the hindwing cell. The cell-derived hindwing veins 4+5 proximally joined and 7+8 proximally joined. Vein 8 of the hindwings completely independent of the cell (approximating to it only); approximating to vein 7 beyond the cell.

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

Tympanal organs present; abdominal.

Eggs, larvae and pupae. Eggs not flattened (oval); smooth or minutely pitted, or ribbed and/or reticulate. Larval prolegs 10. Larvae exposed feeders to concealed feeders (in silken galleries); feeding in communal tents, or not feeding in communal tents. Mostly associated with Gramineae, a few with mosses.

Pupae concealed; above the ground (in the larval galleries). Empty pupae not becoming protruded.

British representation. Genera 13 (3 adventive only); about 40 species (10 adventive). E.g., Catoptria furcatellus (Northern Grass-veneer), Chilo phragmitella (Wainscot Grass-veneer), Crambus pascuella (Inlaid Grass-veneer).

Classification. Microlepidoptera. Suborder Ditrysia. Superfamily Pyraloidea.

Illustrations. • Catoptria (Crambus) furcatellus (Northern Grass-veneer: B. Ent. 109). • Agriphila, Catoptria, Chrysocrambus, Crambus, Pediasia and Thisanotia: Leech, 1886. • Agriphila deliella, A. immistella, A. inquinatella, A. selasella, A. straminella, A tristella: Hübner (1796–1813). • Hübner’s illustrations of 7 Catoptria species (1796–1813). • Catoptria (Crambus) furcatellus (legend+text: B. Ent. 109). • Catoptria margaritella (specimen): photo. • Catoptria margaritella: Stephens IV, 1843. • Catoptria pinella (specimens): photo. • Hübner’s illustrations of 9 Crambus species (1796–1813). • Crambus hamella (specimens): photo. • Crambus pascuella (specimen): photo. • Crambus perlella (specimen): photo. • Crambus perlella var warringtonella (specimen): photo. • Crambus uliginosellus (specimens): photo. • Crambidae (4 genera): Le Cerf & Herbulot. • Ancylolomia: Le Cerf & Herbulot. • Assorted Pyraloidea: Kirby. • Chrysoteuchia: 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: 16th May 2016.’.