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For educational purposes only; do not review, quote or abstract:--

A Public Service on the basics of Insect Identification




Keys to Adults of Families of Entomophagous Lepidoptera

(fr. Schlinger & Doutt, 1964)


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Of the 160+ lepidopterous families, about 12 have species exhibiting entomophagous habits. The following key is adapted from Brues, Melander & Carpenter (1954) and Schlinger & Doutt (1964):


Please refer to <Guide 1a>  or < Guide 1b>for illustrations & <Lepidoptera> for order details


Also see Familiar Butterflies


----Please CLICK on underlined categories to view illustrations and to navigate in the key:



1a.  Antennae simple or modified, but usually not swollen apically; hind wing with frenulum; ocelli often present .......... (Lepidoptera)  (Heterocera)   <General Characteristics>  [Latest Classification]



1b.  Antennae knobbed at tip; hind wing without a frenulum; ocelli absent (Rhopalocera) ............ Lycaenidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>


2a.  Wings absent or greatly reduced in size



2b.  Wings normally developed



3a.  Moth not developing in a sac constructed by the larva



3b.  Moth developing in and often never leaving sac constructed by larva (also see couplets 7, 9 & 10) ......... Psychidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>



4a.  Proboscis absent or vestigial (also see couplet 12) ........ Pyralididae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>



4b.  Proboscis present (also see couplets 11 & 12) ........ Noctuidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>



5a.  Hind wing with 3 anal veins; fore wing usually with 1st anal vein reaching wing margin ........



5b.  Hind wing with 2 anal veins, rarely with one



6a.  Hind wing with veins Sc+R1 and Rs widely separate beyond discal cell



6b.  Hind wing with veins Sc+R1 and Rs fused or closely parallel between discal cell and wing tip.



7a.  Fore wings with radial (accessory) cell



7b.  Fore wing without radial cell (also see couplets 3, 9 & 10) ......... Psychidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>



8a.  Proboscis vestigial



8b.  Mouth parts usually developed, with scaled proboscis



9a.  Tibial spurs short or absent ........ Epipyropidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>



9b.  Hind tibia with 2 pairs of spurs (also see couplets 3, 7 & 10) ......... Psychidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>



10a.  Fore wing with single complete anal vein



10b.  Fore wing with anal veins almost fused or connected by a crossvein so as to end as a single vein (also see couplets 3, 7 & 9) ......... Psychidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>



11a.  Shaft of antennae tapering evenly from base to tip.



11b.  Antennae thickened before tip, usually ending in a recurved hook (also see couplets 4 & 12) ......... Noctuidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>



12a.  Hind wing with Sc usually free from Rs along the cell, though sometimes approaching it (also see couplet 4) (Chrysauginae, Phycitinae, Pyraustinae) .......... Pyralidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>



12b.  Hind wing with Sc fused with Rs for short distance before the middle of cell (also see couplets 4 & 11) .......... Noctuidae



13a.  Maxillary palpi straight and extend forward horizontally, or vestigial



13b.  Maxillary palpi conspicuous, folded in resting position ........ Oenophilidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>



14a.  Basal segment of antenna simple, though often with scales, hairs, or bristles



14b.  Basal segment of antenna enlarged and concave beneath, forming an eyecap (also see couplet 21) ......... Blastobasidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>



15a.  Hind wing with well-developed anal region; venation almost complete



15b.  Hind wing narrow-lanceolate or linear; venation often reduced



16a.  Hind wing with anal vein not distally forked



16b.  Hind wing with third anal vein distally forked ......... Cyclotornidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>



17a.  Upper side of hind wing with fringe of long hairs on basal part of Cu ......... Olethreutidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>



17b.  Hind wing without fringe of long hairs on basal part of Cu. ........ Tortricidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>



18a.  Fore wing with discal cell formed



18b.  Fore wing without closed cell (also see couplet 19) ....... Heliodinidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>



19a.  Hind tarsi without evident groups of bristles



19b.  Hind tarsi with somewhat distinct groups of bristles near the ends of the several segments (also see couplet 18) ....... Heliodinidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>



20a.  Fore wing with discal cell set obliquely, the end distinctly closer to the hind margin than to costa; vein Cu2 very short and usually extending directly back to wing margin



20b.  Fore wing with discal cell axial and central; vein Cu2 normally long and continuing parallel with median veins (also see couplet 21) ....... (Lavernidae)... Cosmopterygidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>



21a.  Fore wing with blunt discal cell; veins R2 and Cu arising from the end of discal cell (also see couplet 14) ......... Blastobasidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>



21b.  Fore wing without stigma; vein R2 arising distinctly before end of discal cell (also see couplet 20) ......... Cosmopterigidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>