Insects of Britain and Ireland: the families of Lepidoptera

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L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz


Cymatophoridae, Polyplocidae.

Adults crepuscular to nocturnal; relatively medium-bodied to 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); wings in repose packed with the forewings directed backwards to cover hindwings and abdomen.

Antennae very short to of medium length; extending to about 0.5–0.68 times the length of the forewing. Antennae of males simple; non-ciliate, or simply-ciliate, or fasciculate-ciliate. Eyes hairy, or glabrous. Ocelli absent (?). Chaetosemata present (?). Maxillary palps much reduced. Labial palps porrect to ascending; 3 segmented. Proboscis fully developed.

Wingspan 33–44 mm; 6–8 times the thoracic width (mostly), or 10–12 times the thoracic width (Asphalia). Forewings broad; 1.75–2.3 times as long as wide. The outer and hind margins angled at about 100 degrees. The outer margin convexly curved; forewings apically blunt. Hindwings broadly rounded; similar in breadth to the forewings; with a rounded apex; the upper surfaces plain; with a discal spot, or with a discal spot and with transverse lines, or 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 obsoletely furcate to simple. Discal cell of the forewings without a tubular media (M) vein. Hindwings 9 veined; with 2 anal veins. The anal veins of the hindwings comprising 1a and 1b. Hindwings exhibiting vein 1a; lacking a tubular vein 1c. 6 veins arising from the hindwing cell. The cell-derived hindwing veins all arising independently of one another. Vein 8 of the hindwings completely independent of the cell; approximating to vein 7 beyond the cell.

Tibiae of middle legs 2-spurred (?). Posterior tibiae short, 2-spurred, or 4-spurred (?); hairy.

Tympanal organs present; metathoracic.

Eggs, larvae and pupae. Eggs markedly flattened to not flattened; smooth or minutely pitted, or ribbed and/or reticulate. Larval prolegs 10. On Rosaceae and a range of amentiferous trees - Salicaceae, Fagaceae, Betulaceae, Corylaceae.

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

British representation. Genera 8; 9 species. Achyla flavicornis (The Yellow-horned Moth), Cymatophorina diluta (Oak Lutestring), Habrosyne pyritoides (Buff Arches), Ochropacha duplaris (Common Lutestring), Polyploca ridens (The Frosted Green), Tethea ocularis (Figure of Eighty), Tethea or (Poplar Lutestring), Tetheella fluctuosa (Satin Lutestring), Thyatira batis (Peach-blossom).

Classification. Macromoths. Suborder Ditrysia. Superfamily Notodontoidea.

Comments. Rural melanism occurs in British populations of Tethea or and apparently in Ochropacha duplaris, with transformation to extreme industrial melanism in some localities in the latter.

Illustrations. • Thyatyridae: Newman. • Tethea ocularis (Figure-of-eighty: B. Ent. 272). • Tethea ocularis: B. Ent. 272, legend+text. • Tethea ocularis: B. Ent. 272, text cont.. • Tethea ocularis (dissections: B. Ent. 272). • Tethea ocularis (legend+text: B. Ent. 272). • Thyatira batis (Peach-blossom: B. Ent. 72). • Thyatira batis: B. Ent. 72, legend+text. • Thyatira batis: B. Ent. 72, text cont.. • Habrosyne, Tethea, Thyatira: Kirby 33 (part). • Ochropacha duplaris: (Common Lutestring, normal and melanic: photos). • Habrosyne pyritoides: 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.’.