Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory




Regional Maps


Compiler and date details

30 December, 2003 - E.(Ted) D. Edwards, CSIRO Entomology, Canberra


Database Notes

This checklist is designed to make available all the changes in the names of Australian Oecophoridae since the Checklist (Nielsen et al. 1996) was published. In particular it incorporates the new names proposed by Common in volumes II and III of Oecophorine Genera of Australia published in 1997 and 2000 respectively (Common 1997, 2000). It also provides original references and information about the type specimens and type localities and also, where available, brief biological notes.

Placement. This web checklist follows the published Checklist very closely and where a subsequent author has moved a species from its position in the Checklist it has been retained in an unplaced position in the next highest taxonomic category unless the later author stated where it should go.

Page numbers. In many instances genera or species were first described in a key which was sometimes published a few pages before the formal description and sometimes years in advance of the formal description. The page number given, where this occurred, is the page number of the key. This is annoying-when looking for the formal description-but inevitable, where the first valid reference must be given when the formal description was published at a later date than the key, for the purpose of establishing the priority of names.

Misspellings. Misspellings are omitted except when they are original misspellings, which have nomenclatural significance.

Distribution. Distributions within Australia have been restricted to the State of occurrence. This is the only data that could be extracted from Oecophorine Genera of Australia compatible with the Platypus database used for this online catalogue.

Type locality. The type locality may be extracted from the original description, the label data of the type, or occasionally from a diary entry. Meyrick in describing Palparia hirax Meyrick, 1883 (now placed in Zelotechna in the Wingia group of the Oecophorinae) gave the type locality of the holotype as Sydney in the description and on the label but his diary records its capture at Parramatta. Frequently, published localities differ from label localities or from diary entries because the author deemed it expedient to record a better-known nearby locality. Sometimes the published locality is not nearby. In several instances 'Perth, WA' is the published locality but the label locality is 'Waroona, WA' which is about 100 km south of Perth. Either the specimen is not the type or the locality has been greatly approximated. In Hesperenoeca Common, this has happened in a series of three species described by Meyrick suggesting that the locality has been approximated. In giving type localities in the catalogue a diary entry or label data has been preferred over the published locality except where these really are very close together or alternative renditions of the same locality.

Types. Types of almost all the Oecophorinae were checked and dissected by I.F.B. Common. The types of the other subfamilies have not been checked so thoroughly.

Ecological details. The ecological information provided has been reduced to absolute essentials. It was considered that a statement of the larval foodplant and larval behaviour was the most useful information. The information given is as close to the appropriate level of detail as possible. A record where a label says 'ex Melaleuca' has been interpreted as indicating that the species has some unspecified association with Melaleuca. Plants are listed as larval foodplants only where the record unambiguously indicated that it was a larval foodplant and not an adult nectar source. Moth larvae are often very restricted in the plants they will feed on, at least at some taxonomic level, but adult use of nectar sources is usually very opportunistic. Probably few of the moths in the catalogue visit flowers on a regular basis although some of the stathmopodine genera around Snellenia Walsingham and Pseudaegeria Walsingham are notable exceptions. An appeal is made here for entomologists labelling reared moths to give explicit larval foodplant information. A label like 'larva feeding openly during the day on green leaves of Eucalyptus maculosa' is very useful. A label 'ex Eucalyptus maculosa' is almost useless because the type of association between moth and plant is not specified. The adult may have been sitting on a leaf quite fortuitously. Many records give Eucalyptus sp. or Casuarina sp. as foodplants. Both genera have suffered recent taxonomic splitting and it is not possible to allocate the recent plant genera in any instance. In fact some moths may be restricted to certain species of Eucalyptus or Casuarina and others may feed on many species of these genera. However there is not much evidence that they distinguish the genera into which these old genera have been split. In the catalogue, mostly, the old inclusive genera Eucalyptus and Casuarina are listed. Ecological information has been drawn from the following sources: Burrows, Balciunas & Edwards (1994); Common (1990, 1994, 1997, 2000), Illidge (1895); original descriptions of species; labels in ANIC and BMNH; and the ANIC card index of larval foodplants. Most records of Eucalyptus bicostata and E. sideroxylon are from cultivated plants so records may be of plants whose distribution does not overlap that of the moth concerned.

The family represents a major part of the Australian Gelechioidea and indeed of the Australian Lepidoptera. It includes more than 2300 described valid species referred to more than 300 genera or generic groups, distributed in five subfamilies Oecophorinae, Stathmopodinae, Xyloryctinae, Autostichinae and Stenomatinae. It has been estimated that a similar or even larger number of species remain to be described.

In a series of papers between 1883 and 1889 Meyrick made the first serious attempt to deal with the taxonomy of this large group, including 756 species with 626 described as new. Meyrick, Turner and Lower continued to describe new species of Oecophoridae between 1889 and the publication of Meyrick's (1922d) revision of the world fauna; and the first two authors described most of the new genera and species between 1922 and Turner's (1932—1947) comprehensive revision of the Australian Oecophoridae. However, the revisions by Meyrick and Turner, and a catalogue of the world Oecophoridae by Gaede (1938c, 1939), covered only the subfamily Oecophorinae and the family Depressariidae

Oecophorinae. This is by far the largest subfamily of the Australian Oecophoridae and includes nearly 2000 described species referred to 250 genera or generic groups. Numerous undescribed species await description. The species are widely distributed on the mainland and in Tasmania, but especially in Eucalyptus (Myrtaceae) forests, woodlands and mallee, although some genera and species occur in rainforest. The larvae and some species feed on living foliage of Myrtaceae, mainly eucalypts, but a high proportion of those reared depend on dead eucalypt leaves.

Common (1994) published a generic revision of the Wingia group of genera.

Stathmopodinae. The Australian Stathmopodinae were catalogued by Meyrick (1913b) as part of a composite family Heliodinidae, which also included members of the true Heliodinidae and even some Cosmopterigidae. The most recent revision of the 'Heliodinidae' was published by Turner (1941b). In Australia the subfamily contains about 104 described species in 15 genera, with a wide distribution especially in the north-east. The fauna has a close relationship to that of New Guinea and South-East Asia. The larvae of some species feed on living foliage, either externally or as leaf-miners, some bore in flower spikes, fruits, galls or bark, others feed on dead leaves or are predaors of scale insects, and one species is a predator on spiders' eggs.

Autostichinae. The Autostichinae were established as a subfamily of the Gelechiidae by Le Marchand (1947), but Hodges (1978) treated the group as a subfamily of the Oecophoridae. There has been no recent revision of the Australian genera. Only 14 species in three genera are currently known to belong to the Australian fauna. Twelve of the species are referred to the endemic genus Procometis Meyrick, with most of them restricted to the southern half of the continent. The feeding habits of only one species are known: the larvae live in vertical tunnels in the soil, feeding on terrestrial lichens growing on the surface.

Xyloryctinae. Meyrick (1890a) established the family Xyloryctidae, followed by a paper by Turner (1898a) on the Queensland representatives, but there has been no recent revision of this group. This subfamily is most numerous in Australia, with some 275 described species referred to 50 genera. Many undescribed species are already in collections. The group includes some of the largest gelechioids, with a wingspan of more than 70 mm. The larvae are associated with many plant families: some feed between joined leaves, a few contruct portable cases, some feed on lichens, others tunnel in living bark or in branches and stems of shrubs and trees, either feeding on the regrowth of bark around the tunnel entrance or on green leaves cut off and attached at the entrance of the tunnel to be used as food.

Stenomatinae. The Stenomatinae were accepted by Meyrick and Turner as part of the Xyloryctidae, but were treated by Hodges (1978) as a subfamily of the Oecophoridae. The Australian representatives were reviewed by Duckworth (1973). This subfamily reaches its greatest development in the Neotropical Region, but a few genera are known from Old World areas including Madagascar, India, Sri Lanka, the Moluccas, New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, New Zealand and Australia. Forty species in four genera occur in Australia, 28 of which belong to Agriophara Rosenstock, which also occurs in New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and New Zealand. The larvae of the Australian species feed between joined leaves of Myrtaceae, expecially Eucalyptus.


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)