Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory




Regional Maps


Compiler and date details

E.D. (Ted) Edwards & K.D. Fairey


The Anthelidae were first revised, as part of the Lymantriidae, by Swinhoe (1903) and Turner (1904b). They were first separated as a distinct family by Turner (1920a). They were treated as a subfamily of the Lymantriidae in Seitz, Macrolepidoptera of the World by Strand (1925, 1929) and the literature was listed in Lepidopterorum Catalogus by Bryk (1934), again as a subfamily. A generic revision was publishe by Swinhoe (1922) which was superseded before publication by Turner (1921d). Turner corrected and added to his revision in Turner (1922b). The family was dealt with in Genera Insectorum by Hulstaert (1928). Of all these papers the most useful for the Australian lepidopterist is Turner (1921d). Turner subsequently added further species in later years but the family has not been revised since.

The Anthelidae were placed as a family in the Noctuoidea by Tillyard (1926) on Turner's advice. They were tacitly transferred to the Bombycoidea by Common (1963c, 1966b) and explicitly by Common (1970b). Common & McFarland (1970) established the subfamily Munychryiinae. Subsequent authors have retained the Anthelidae in the Bombycoidea (Nielsen & Common 1991; Scoble 1992) but Minet (1994) included the family, with Lasiocampidae, in the Lasiocampoidea.

There are 74 described species in Australia placed in 8 genera. The family is confined to Australia and New Guinea with the majority of species found in Australia. Only 2 species occur in both Australia and New Guinea; the remainder are endemic to each country. Most species are placed in the large genus Anthela Walker in which several species groups are poorly defined and these contain a number of species complexes. Characters of the early stages will probalby be imporant in elucidating these complexes. The biology of the Anthelidae was described for Munychryia by Common & McFarland (1970) and Common (1990) gave a useful modern account of the family.

The family contains many undescribed species in Australia. Recent work on Pterolocera has identified many more undescribed species than there are described species but this work is as yet unpublished.

Some species of Anthela and all but one of Pterolocera have brachypterous females. The larval hairs of some species have caused mechanical irritation of the human skin or even blindness but they are not known to be toxic as in some Lymantriidae and other families. Some anthelids cause periodic damage to native pastures (Pterolocera spp.) and crops (Anthela denticulata (Newman), A. euryphrica Turner and A. ostra Swinhoe).

A. Zwick recently completed a project on Anthelidae (Zwick 2006) and published several papers arising from that study (Zwick 2008, 2009).


General References

Bryk, F. 1934. Lymantriidae. Lepidopterorum Catalogus 62: 1-441

Common, I.F.B. 1963. Australian Moths. Brisbane : Jacaranda Press 128 pp.

Common, I.F.B. 1966. A new family of Bombycoidea (Lepidoptera) based on Carthaea saturnioides Walker from Western Australia. Journal of the Entomological Society of Queensland 5: 29-36

Common, I.F.B. 1970. Lepidoptera (Moths and butterflies). pp. 765-866, pls 7, 8 in Mackerras, I.M. (ed.). The Insects of Australia: a textbook for students and research workers. Melbourne : Melbourne University Press 1029, 8 pls.

Common, I.F.B. 1990. Moths of Australia. Carlton : Melbourne University Press vi+535 pp., 32 pls.

Common, I.F.B. & McFarland, N. 1970. A new subfamily for Munychryia Walker and Gephyroneura Turner (Lepidoptera: Anthelidae) and the description of a new species from Western Australia. Journal of the Australian Entomological Society 9: 11-12

Hulstaert, P.G. 1928. Lepidoptera Heterocera. Fam. Anthelidae. Genera Insectorum 191: 1-13, pl. 1

Minet, J. 1994. The Bombycoidea: phylogeny and higher classification (Lepidoptera: Glossata). Entomologica Scandinavica 25: 63-88

Nielsen, E.S. & Common, I.F.B. 1991. Lepidoptera (Moths and Butterflies). pp. 817-915, pls 7, 8 in CSIRO (ed.). The Insects of Australia. 2 vols. Carlton : Melbourne University Press xiii + vi + 1075 pp., 8 pls.

Scoble, M.J. 1992. The Lepidoptera. Form, Function and Diversity. Oxford : Natural History Museum Publications & Oxford University Press xi + 404 pp.

Strand, E. 1929. Subfamily: Anthelinae. pp. 364-375, pls 46, 56c-58 in Seitz, A. (ed.). The Macrolepidoptera of the World. 10. Bombyces and Sphinges of the Indo-Australian Region. 2 vols. Stuttgart : Alfred Kernen Verlag 909 pp., 100 pls (1925-1929).

Swinhoe, C. 1903. A revision of the Old World Lymantriidae in the National Collection. Transactions of the Entomological Society of London 1903: 375-498

Swinhoe, C. 1922. A revision of the genera of the family Liparidae. Annals and Magazine of Natural History 9 10: 449-484

Tillyard, R.J. 1926. Lepidoptera. pp. 731-733 in Jose, A.W. & Carter, H.J. (eds). The Illustrated Australian Encyclopaedia. Sydney : Angus & Robertson Vol. 1.

Turner, A.J. 1904. A classification of the Australian Lymantriidae. Transactions of the Entomological Society of London 3: 469-481

Turner, A.J. 1920. A new family of Lepidoptera, the Anthelidae. Transactions of the Entomological Society of London 1919: 415-419

Turner, A.J. 1921. Revision of Australian Lepidoptera — Hypsidae, Anthelidae. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 46: 159-191 [Date published 21 Aug. 1921]

Turner, A.J. 1922. Revision of Australian Lepidoptera. Saturniadae, Bombycidae, Eupterotidae, Notodontidae. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 47: 348-390 [Date published 15 Dec. 1922]

Zwick, A. 2006. Phylogenetic analyses and taxonomy of Anthelidae (Lepidoptera). PhD Thesis, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.

Zwick, A. 2008. Molecular phylogeny of Anthelidae and other bombycoid taxa (Lepidoptera: Bombycoidea). Systematic Entomology 33: 190-209

Zwick, A. 2009. The principal structure of male genital sclerites and muscles of bombycoid moths, with special reference to Anthelidae (Lepidoptera: Bombycoidea). Arthropod Structure & Development 38: 147-161


History of changes

Note that this list may be incomplete for dates prior to September 2013.
Published As part of group Action Date Action Type Compiler(s)
12-Feb-2010 (import)