The Pyraloidea (pyraloid moths) are a moth superfamily containing about 16,000 described species worldwide (Munroe & Solis 1998), and probably at least as many more remain to be described. They are generally fairly small moths.
This superfamily used to contain the Hyblaeidae, Thyrididae, Alucitidae (plus Tineodidae), Pterophoridae, and Pyralidae. Currently, the Crambidae are usually separated from the Pyralidae, but the first four families are now each split off as a distinct superfamily. Some genera (e.g. Micronix and Tanaobela) still defy easy classification and have been variously assigned to the Crambidae or the Pyralidae.
Among all Lepidoptera, pyraloids show the most diverse life history adaptations. The larvae of most species feed on living plants either internally or externally as leaf rollers, leaf webbers leaf miners, borers, root feeders, and seed feeders. Some species live parasitically in ant nests (Wurthiinae), predate upon scale insects (certain Phycitinae), or live in the nests of bees (Galleriinae). The larvae of the are adapted to life under water, and certain Phycitinae and Pyralinae are adapted to very dry environments and their larvae feed on stored food products. Others feed on animal detritus such as carrion and feces.
With such a variety of living habits, pyraloids are an ideal group for biodiversity studies (Schulze & Fiedler 2003). Some species are of economic importance, e.g.:
- rice stem borers (Chilo spp.; Scirpophaga spp.)
- sod grass webworms (different species of Crambinae)
- Indian meal moth (Plodia interpunctella)
- European corn borer (Ostrinia nubilalis)
- Indo-Australian coconut spike moth (Tirathaba rufivena)
- Cacao moth (Ephestia elutella)
- Mediterranean flour moth (Ephestia kuehniella)
- wax moths (Achroia grisella, Galleria mellonella)
- rice moth (Corcyra cephalonica).
Munroe, E. G. & M. A. Solis 1998: The Pyraloidea. Pp. 233?256. ? In: Kristensen, N. P., Lepidoptera, Moths and Butterflies. Volume 1: Evolution, systematics, and biogeography. - In: M. Fischer (ed.), Handbook of Zoology. Volume IV Arthropoda: Insecta, Part 35. ? Walter de Gruyter, Berlin.
Schulze, C. H. & K. Fiedler 2003: Vertical and temporal diversity of a species rich moth taxon in Borneo. Pp. 69?88. ? In: Basset, Y., V. Novotny, S. E. Miller & R. L. Kitching, Arthropods of tropical forests. Spatio-temporal resource use in the canopy. ? Cambridge University Press.
The Superfamily Pyraloidea is further organized into finer groupings including:
The Pyralidae or snout moths are a family of Lepidoptera in the ditrysian superfamily Pyraloidea. In many (particularly older) classifications, the grass moths (Crambidae) are included in the Pyralidae as a subfamily, making the combined group one of the largest families in the Lepidoptera. The latest review by Munroe & Solis, in Kristensen (1999) retains the Crambidae as a full family of pyraloidea. [more]
Thyrididae is the picture-winged leaf moths family of moths in the Lepidoptera order. They alone make up the Thyridoidea superfamily, which is sometimes included in the Pyraloidea (though this is not supported by cladistic analysis. [more]
At least 1,054 species and subspecies belong to the Family Thyrididae.
More info about the Family Thyrididae may be found here.
- Global Information System on Pyraloidea.
- Scielo Solis, M. Alma. Phylogenetic studies and modern classification of the Pyraloidea (Lepidoptera ). Rev. Colomb. Entomol., Jan./June 2007, vol.33, no.1, p.1-8. ISSN 0120-0488. Free download pdf
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