Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory




Regional Maps


Compiler and date details

February 2012 - Data added by Robyn Meier with advice from Ted Edwards, Australian National Insect Collection, CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences

1996 - Names and Introduction taken from Nielsen et al. (1996)

  • Gracillaridae Stainton, 1854.



[After Nielsen & Kumata (1996: 47)]
Gracillariids are often elegant, small moths with narrow wings and prominant cilia; there are some 1600 named species of which fewer than 200 are recorded from Australia. The world fauna was reviewed in Lepidopteroroum Catalogus and Genera Insectorum by Meyrick (1912e, 1912b). Most of the world genera were reviewed by Vári (1961) and many of the genera occurring in Australia were treated in his revision of the South African fauna.

The Australian fauna was last revised by Turner (1940b) and the fauna is in great need of review. The present list is primarily based on the ANIC collection.

For the Gracillariinae, the largest subfamily in Australia, the revisionary work on the fauna of the Palaearctic, Japan and SE Asia is relevant to our knowledge of the Australian fauna (Kumata 1977-1989); Kumata et al. 1988). The Australian representatives of the economically important genus Dialectica Walsingham are being revised by T. Kumata and M. Horak and a detailed account on the introduced biological control agent Neurostrota gunniella (Busck) was published by Davis et al. (1991).

Australia has a small fauna of Lithocolletinae and the only recent publication was concerned with the introduced oak leafminer Phyllonorycter messaniella (Zeller) (Common 1976). Recent studies of overseas faunas of the subfamily include Kumata (1973, 1993), Deschka (1982) and Emmet et al. (1985).

While the silvery leaf-mines of Phyllocnistinae are quite common there is also no modern study of the subfamily in Australia. Meyrick (1906) described a number of Australian species and Emmet (1985b) offers a recent account of the British fauna.

The genus Gracillaria Haworth, 1828 was misspelled for the first time by Zeller (1839: 208; Gracilaria [sic!]). Walsingham (1907: 721) introduced Gracilaria as an emendation, because Gracillaria is based on the Latin word gracilis and should have been spelled Gracilaria by Haworth. Subsequent authors followed to use Gracilaria instead of Gracillaria, and Zimmerman & Riley submitted Case Z.N.(S.) 1757 to the ICZN in 1966, proposing to reject Gracillaria and to place the emended name Gracilaria on the Official List of Generic Names in Zoology. The ICZN rejected the case in 1969 (published 1970 in Opinion 912) and instead placed Gracillaria on the Official List of Generic Names in Zoology, which resulted in the very widespread past usage of Gracilaria [sic!] to be an incorrect subsequent spelling of Gracillaria.

A catalogue of the Gracillariidae of the world was published by De Prins & De Prins (2005). The web site “Global Taxonomic Database of Gracillariidae (Lepidoptera)” [] by the same authors is the electronic, updated equivalent of the catalogue. This outstanding resource (accessed March to May 2016) is the basis for most of the information presented here, but expanded and corrected based on original descriptions, and notes in the Australian National Insect Collection on type specimens examined for the checklist by Nielsen & Kumata (1996).


General References

Common, I.F.B. 1976. The oak leaf-miner, Phyllonorycter messaniella (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) established in Australia. Journal of the Australian Entomological Society 15: 471-473

Davis, D.R., Kassulke, R.C., Harley, K.L.S. & Gillett, J.D. 1991. Systematics, morphology, biology, and host specificity of Neurostrota gunniella (Busck) (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae), an agent for the biological control of Mimosa pigra L. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington 93: 16-44

De Prins, J. & De Prins, W.O. 2016. Global Taxonomic Database of Gracillariidae (Lepidoptera).

de Prins, W.O. & de Prins, J. 2005. Gracillariidae (Lepidoptera). World Catalogue Of Insects Stenstrup, Denmark : Apollo Books Vol. 6 502 pp.

Deschka, G. 1982. Nearktische Phyllonorycter Huebner, 1822 (Lepidoptera, Lithocolletidae). Entomofauna 3: 243-270

Emmet, A.M., Watkinson, I.A. & Wilson, M.R. 1985. Gracillariidae. Pp. 244-363, pls 10-13 in Emmet, A.M. (ed.). The moths and butterflies of Great Britain and Ireland. Colchester : Harley Books Vol. 2 461 pp.

International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature 1970. Opinion 912 -- Gracillaria Haworth, 1828 (Insecta, Lepidoptera): added to the Official List of Generic Names in Zoology. Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature 27: 27-28

Kumata , T. 1973. On the genus Phyllonorycter or Lithocolletis from central Nepal, with descriptions of twelve new species - notes on Gracillariidae (Lepidoptera) of Nepal, I. Insecta Matsumurana n.s 1: 1-45

Kumata , T. 1977. On the Japanese species of the genera Macarostola, Aristaea and Systoloneura, with descriptions of three new species (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Insecta Matsumurana n.s 9: 1-51

Kumata , T. 1978. A new stem-miner of alder in Japan, with a review of the larval transformation in the Gracillaridae (Lepidoptera). Insecta Matsumurana n.s 13: 1-27

Kumata , T. 1982. A taxonomic revision of the Gracillaria group occuring in Japan (Lepidoptera: Gracillaridae). Insecta Matsumurana n.s 26: 1-186

Kumata , T. 1989. Two new genera related to Acrocercops (Gracillariidae, Lepidoptera), with five new species from the Oriental Region. Insecta Matsumurana n.s 42: 47-82

Kumata , T. 1993. A contribution to the knowledge of the Malaysian Lithocolletinae (Gracillariidae, Lepidoptera), with a revision of the Indian Cameraria associated with Leguminosae. Insecta Matsumurana n.s 48: 1-85

Kumata, T. & Kuroko, H. in Kumata, T., Kuroko, H. & Ermolaev, V.P. 1988. Japanese species of the Acrocercops-group (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Part 2. Insecta Matsumurana n.s 40: 1-133

Meyrick, E. 1906. Descriptions of Australian Tineina. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia 30: 33-66

Meyrick, E. 1912. Lepidoptera Heterocera (Tineae). Fam. Gracilariadae. Genera Insectorum 128: 1-36, pl. 1

Meyrick, E. 1912. Lepidoptera Heterocera (Tineae). Fam. Gracilariadae. Genera Insectorum 128: 1-36, pl. 1

Nielsen, E.S. & Kumata, T. 1996. Gracillariidae. pp. 47-49 in Nielsen, E.S., Edwards, E.D. & Rangsi, T.V. (eds). Checklist of the Lepidoptera of Australia. Monographs on Australian Lepidoptera. Collingwood : CSIRO Publishing Vol. 4 xiv 529 pp. & CD-ROM.

Turner, A.J. 1940. A revision of the Australian Gracilariidae (Lepidoptera). Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia 64: 50-69

Vári, L. 1961. South African Lepidoptera. Volume I. Lithocolletidae. Transvaal Museum Memoirs 12: 1-238


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)
22-Sep-2016 GRACILLARIIDAE 08-Jun-2017 MODIFIED Mrs Sandra Zwick
27-Feb-2012 27-Feb-2012 MODIFIED
12-Feb-2010 (import)