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Subfamily Acrolophinae - Burrowing Webworm Moths

Tiny Moth - Acrolophus panamae Eastern Grass-tubeworm Moth - Hodges#0372 - Acrolophus plumifrontella - male Frilly Grass-tubeworm Moth - Acrolophus mycetophagus Acrolophus morus - Hodges#0367 - Acrolophus mora Hodges#0365 - Acrolophus minor Moth to porch light  - Acrolophus - female Acrolophus Long-horned Grass Tubeworm - Acrolophus mortipennella? - Acrolophus mortipennella
Show images of: caterpillars · adults · both
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
Superfamily Tineoidea (Tubeworm, Bagworm, and Clothes Moths)
Family Tineidae (Clothes Moths)
Subfamily Acrolophinae (Burrowing Webworm Moths)
Other Common Names
Tube Moths
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
members formerly placed in the family Tineidae, then its own family, Acrolophidae, and now back again as a subfamily.
some species listed in the genus Amydria are considered by some references to be in a third genus, Ptilopsaltis.
Explanation of Names
Larvae of some species construct long silken tubes in the soil, thus "tubeworm".
For origin of subfamily name, see genus Acrolophus .
65 species in 2 genera (Acrolophus and Amydria) in North America (1).
Larvae up to 30 mm
Adult: usually brown, gray, or tan with few markings; labial palps often hairy, and when extended over the head give the moth a furry-headed appearance.
Larva: grayish or dirty white with a brown head

Comstock (2) describes the family:
These are large, stout, noctuid-like moths; some of the species have a wing-expanse of 30 mm or more. The eyes are usually hairy, in which respect they differ from other "Micros." The antennae are without an eye-cap. The labial palpi are large, and usually upcurved to the middle of the front; in the males of some species they are thrown back on the dorsum of the thorax, which they equal in length. The first segment is relatively very large; when the palpus is short it is longer than the second segment; the thorax is tufted. The venation of the wings is quite generalized; the base of media is more or less preserved, and all the branches of the branched veins are present; there are three anal veins in both fore and hind wings; in the forewings the tip of the third anal vein coalesces with the second anal vein.
Southwestern United States and as far north as Pennsylvania and Wisconsin in the eastern two-thirds of United States.
Mostly tropical as a family, the majority of species occurring in Central and South America.
At least one species from May onward, but in the southwest many fly from mid to late summer
Some larvae feed on soil detritus and the roots of grasses and other herbaceous plants; others are coprophagous. Little or nothing is known about the larvae of most species- it has been speculated that many live in animal nests or burrows and have thus escaped discovery.
Monophyly has been strongly confirmed for this subfamily (3).
See Also
Print References
Comstock, p. 611 (direct link) (2)
Internet References
pinned adult image of Amydria effrentella plus other info (Gerald Fauske, Moths of North Dakota)
all life stage drawings of Acrolophus popeanellus plus other info (North Carolina State U.)
adult images of Acrolophus propinquus (Larry Line, Maryland)
Encyclopedia of Life--Acrolophidae
Tree of Life Web--Acrolophidae
Works Cited
1.Annotated taxonomic checklist of the Lepidoptera of North America, North of Mexico
Pohl, G.R., Patterson, B., & Pelham, J.P. 2016.
2.An Introduction to Entomology
John Henry Comstock. 1933. The Comstock publishing Co.
3.A molecular phylogeny and revised classification for the oldest ditrysian moth lineages (Lepidoptera: Tineoidea)
Jerome Regier, Charles Mitter, Donald Davis, Terry Harrison, Jae-Cheon Sohn, Michael Cummings, Andreas Zwick, and Kim Mitter. 2014. Systematic Entomology.