Insects of Britain and Ireland: the families of Lepidoptera

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L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz


Lavernidae; including Agonoxenidae, Cosmopterigidae, Batrachedridae.

Adults relatively long-bodied; relatively slender-bodied (wingspan more than 15 times the thoracic width) to medium built (wingspan more than 8 and less than 15 times the thoracic width); not raising the hind-legs in repose; wings in repose packed with the forewings directed backwards to cover hindwings and abdomen.

Head smooth. Antennae long to very long; extending to about 0.75–1 times the length of the forewing; not clubbed. Antennae of males simple; non-ciliate, or simply-ciliate. The antennal scape with a pecten, or without a pecten; not forming an ‘eye cap’. Eyes glabrous. Ocelli present, or absent. Chaetosemata absent (?). Maxillary palps well developed; 3 segmented, or 4 segmented; folded. Labial palps drooping (Chrysoclista), or ascending (appressed, very short, or very long an recurved in Pancalia); 3 segmented. Proboscis fully developed; scaly towards the base.

Wingspan 7–21 mm; (10.5–)11–17 times the thoracic width. Forewings narrow; 4–7 times as long as wide. Tornus clearly defined to undetectable. The outer and hind margins angled at 120–180 degrees. The outer margin convexly curved; forewings apically blunt. Hindwings narrow-elongate and very long-fringed; linear to linear-lanceolate; very much narrower than the forewings to quite markedly narrower than the forewings; with a pointed apex. The fringe of the hindwings 2–8 times the width of the membrane. The upper surfaces plain; with neither discal spot nor transverse lines; hindwings with a frenulum.

Neuration of forewings and hindwings dissimilar. Forewings 11–12 veined (veins 7 and 8 sometimes coincident, or 5 absent, or 4 and 6 absent in Pancalia), or 13 veined; with 1 anal vein to with 2 anal veins. The anal veins of the forewings representing 1b only, or comprising 1b and 1c (1c complete only proximally or distally). Forewings exhibiting a tubular vein 1c, or lacking a tubular vein 1c. Vein 1b of the forewings furcate proximally. The transverse vein complete. Discal cell of the forewings without a tubular media (M) vein. Veins 7 and 8 of the forewings sometimes stalked. Hindwings with well developed neuration, or with greatly reduced neuration; 5–10 veined; lacking anal veins, or with 1 anal vein to with 3 anal veins (? - only theoretically interpretable when neuration reduced). The anal veins of the hindwings when identifiable, representing 1b only, or comprising 1b and 1c, or comprising 1a and 1b, or comprising 1a, 1b and 1c. Hindwings exhibiting vein 1a, or lacking vein 1a; exhibiting a tubular vein 1c (when neuration not reduced), or lacking a tubular vein 1c. Vein 1b of the hindwings simple. Hindwings with a discal cell, or without a discal cell. The transverse vein incomplete. When cell present, 6 veins arising from the hindwing cell. The cell-derived hindwing veins all arising independently of one another. Veins 6 and 7 of the hindwings not parallel. Vein 8 of the hindwings completely independent of the cell (when cell present); not approximating to vein 7.

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

Eggs, larvae and pupae. Eggs smooth or minutely pitted (?). Larval prolegs 10. Larvae concealed feeders; leaf-mining, or not leaf-mining (then usually in stems or amongst seeds, rarely in spun leaves). The phytophagous forms on diverse woody and herbaceous Dicots and grasses.

Pupae on the surface of the ground, or above the ground. Empty pupae not becoming protruded.

British representation. Genera 11; 34 species. Blastodacna atra (Apple Pith Moth), Chrysoclista linneella (Linaeus's Spangle-wing or Cosmet), Euclemensia woodiella (Manchester Tinea: known worldwide only from only three extant specimens, supposedly collected in 1829 about 5 km from the centre of Manchester, and now seemingly extinct), etc.

Classification. Microlepidoptera. Suborder Ditrysia. Superfamily Gelechioidea.

Illustrations. • Mompha, Chrysoclista, Blastodacna and Spuleria (including Cosmopterigidae: from Stainton). • Batrachedra (Batrachedridae: from Stainton). • Stainton's representative 'Tineina'. • Chrysoclista linneella (Linaeus's Spangle-wing, Cosmet: B. Ent. 152). • Chrysoclista linneella (legend+text: B. Ent. 152). • Chrysoclista linneella (text cont.: B. Ent. 152). • The extinct Euclemensia woodiella Curtis (Original generic description. Manchester Tinea: B. Ent. 304). • Euclemensia woodiella: B. Ent. 304, legend+text. • Euclemensia woodiella: B. Ent. 304, text cont.. • Mompha ochraceella (Curtis): B. Ent. 735. • Mompha ochraceella (Curtis): B. Ent. 735, legend+text. • Mompha ochraceella (Curtis): B. Ent. 735, text cont.. • 16 British species of Mompha. • Limnaecia phragmitella (as Laverna): Stainton 11, IV (1870). • Stainton 11, IV (1870): original legend.. • Cosmopteryx lienigiella, C. orichalcea, C. schmidiella: Stainton 12, I (1870). • Stainton 12, I (1870): original legend.. • Sorhagenia rhamniella (as Laverna): Stainton 11, VI (1870). • Stainton 11, VI (1870): original legend.. • Mompha substrigella: Stainton 11, VI (1870). • Stainton 11, VI (1870): original legend.. • Mompha terminella: Stainton 12, IV (1870). • Stainton 12, IV (1870): original legend.. • Mompha propinquella, M. epilobiella (as fulvescens), M. langiella (as epilobiella): Stainton 11, V (1870). • Stainton 11, V (1870): original legend.. • Larvae of 'Tineina' (Stainton). • Cosmopteryx, Mompha: 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.’.