Blue underwing Catocala fraxini, copyright Harald Süpfle. Belongs within: Erebidae. Contains: Melipotini, Euclidiini, Ophiusini, Poaphilini. The Erebinae are a clade of noctuoid moths identified by molecular data, members of which have a smooth apex on the proboscis with all the styloconic sensilla placed dorsally. Females have the seventh sternite reduced and divided into two lobes… Continue reading Erebinae

Ophiusini Corrections

Earlier this year, I presented a post on the noctuoid moth tribe Ophiusini. As it turns out, that post includes some notable errors. One of the main sources I used, Zahiri et al. (2012), stated that Ophiusini “have a strongly modified apex to the proboscis, with strong and enlarged spines and erectile, reversed hooks that… Continue reading Ophiusini Corrections


Stathmopoda melanochra, copyright Donald Hobern. Belongs within: Gelechioidea. The Stathmopodinae are a group of usually very small moths that commonly rest with the hind wings raised (Nielsen & Common 1991). Characters (from Nielsen & Common 1991): Usually very small; head smooth-scaled; wings very narrow; fore wing lacking pterostigma, R2 well before upper angle of discal… Continue reading Stathmopodinae


Grizzled skipper Pyrgus malvae, copyright Gail Hampshire. Belongs within: Hesperiidae. The Pyrginae, flats, are a cosmopolitan group of relatively large, robust and fast-flying skippers whose larvae feed on a wide range of dicotyledonous plants (Braby 2000a). Characters (from Braby 2000a): Antenna more than half length of costa of fore wing; third segment of labial palp… Continue reading Pyrginae


Small tolype moth Tolype notialis, copyright Ken Childs.Belongs within: Obtectomera. Contains: Drepanidae, Noctuoidea, Geometroidea, Bombycoidea, Lasiocampinae. The Macroheterocera are a clade of mostly medium-sized to large moths united by molecular phylogenetic analysis (Kawahara et al. 2019). Many species in this clade possess sound-receptive tympanal organs, thought differences in location and structure imply non-homology. Drepanidae and… Continue reading Macroheterocera


Gold spot Plusia festucae, copyright Ilia Ustyantsev. Belongs within: Noctuidae. The Plusiinae are a cosmopolitan group of moths commonly bearing a pale, often metallic, marking at the centre of the fore wings. Characters (from Nielsen & Common 1991): Dorsal thoracic crest and dorsal abdominal tufts present, eyes lashed, fore wing often with silver markings (‘silver… Continue reading Plusiinae


Copper underwing Amphipyra pyramidea, copyright Soebe. Belongs within: Noctuidae. The Amphipyrinae are a group of stout moths with bare and unlashed eyes and unspined tibiae. Larvae often have a terminal hump and lack secondary setae (Nielsen & Common 1991). Amphipyrinae NC91     |–Athetis tenuis MC13     |–Eremechroa MC13     |–Proteuxoa interferens MC13     |–Cosmodes elegans NC91     |–Bathytricha truncata NC91,… Continue reading Amphipyrinae


Egyptian bollwormEarias insulana, copyright Gailhampshire. Belongs within: Noctuoidea. The Chloephorinae are a group of moths found predominantly in the Old World tropics. Characters (from Nielsen & Common 1991): Relatively long upturned labial palps; smooth fore wing with bar-shaped retinaculum in male or retinaculum absent; larva with four pairs of ventral prolegs and only primary setae;… Continue reading Chloephorinae

Piercing Fruit and Piercing Souls

The moths of the superfamily Noctuoidea are one of the most diverse subsections of the Lepidoptera, with probably somewhere between fifty and seventy thousand species known to date (Zahiri et al. 2012; as with other massively diverse clades, the lack of proper checklists and revisions makes the question of species number surprisingly difficult to answer).… Continue reading Piercing Fruit and Piercing Souls