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Noctuidae as monophyletic group

Unfortunately the classification proposed for the Noctuoid moths is rather outdated and does not take into account more recent taxonomic work. As it is the classification proposed in bugguide makes the family Noctuidae paraphyletic, and thus an unnatural group. In their book on the evolution of insects, Grimaldi and Engel suggested that more taxonomic work (including molecular studies) will reveal that the tiger moths and tussock moths are in fact very advanced and distinct noctuids. The other families Nolidae and Pantheidae have been incorporated into Noctuidae a long time ago.

In 2006 Lafontaine and Fibiger proposed an updated classification based on the natural relationships between various groups, thus making Noctuidae monophyletic. The family Notodontidae still stands on its own, as the basal group of the (now huge) family Noctuidae. This rather radical approach should come as no surprise, giving the fact that similar work was also done on the (also huge) family Nymphalidae.

As it is family Erebidae is again paraphyletic. This family should be dissolved. According to Powell and Opler (2009) Erebus is a synonim for Ascalapha and the name of this family was based on it. The subfamilies in the "family" Erebidae should be moved into Noctuidae.

Will those of you updating the taxonomy here
give a look at 931984 Androloma maccullochii (W. Kirby, 1837), page 64. We have Alypia here. We don't know enough to know if it is a change or an incorrect ID.

Looks pretty clear to me
Alypia maccullochii was the name used by Kirby in his original description, but AllLeps, Nomina Nearctica (as opposed to the Nearctica lepidoptera pages), and MPG all use Androloma maccullochii. LepIndex has Alypia maccullochii, but has Androloma as a junior subjective synonym for Alypia.

The way I interpret this is that one either lumps Androloma in with Alypia, in which case the Alypia maccullochii is the only correct name, or Androloma is distinct from Alypia, in which case Androloma maccullochii is the only correct name.

One might argue that the Androloma maccullochii page should be changed to Alypia maccullochii, but the two are mutually exclusive names for the same taxon- the Alypia maccullochii page should never have been created. This is obviously a case of creating a page without checking anything and without even a clue as to whether the page was needed.

Given that that the Androloma maccullochii page is older (and every source BugGuide ever used as a taxonomic reference agrees on Androloma maccullochii as the correct name), I would move the Alypia maccullochii image to Androloma maccullochii and delete the Alypia maccullochii page.

When the word comes back as to whether Androloma maccullochii or Alypia maccullochii is correct in the current taxonomy, the remaining page should be updated to have the correct name and the other name should be documented as a synonym on that page.

OK -

BugGuide has this species listed twice, under Alypia here (node made 10/19/08) and under Androloma here (node made 05/31/08). MPG has the species under Androloma and that should be the current genus.

Noctuidae changes - 75% done
I started compiling a list of the changes within the Noctuidae; forgive me, for this will be a rather lengthy list. I sorted the changes alphabetically based on the subfamily which the images are currently placed. As such, I have finished all subfamilies except for the current subfamily Xyleninae (which basicly has become a tribe within Noctuinae now, but I'd still like to go through it first as there are likely other changes as well).


1. Acontia aprica, Acontia areli, Acontia bilimeki, Acontia delecta, Acontia expolita, Acontia flavipennis, Acontia geminocula, Acontia lucasi, Acontia quadriplaga, Acontia tetragona all moved to new genus Tarache
2. Genus Fruva is lumped into genus Ponometia
3. Genus Conochares is lumped into genus Ponometia
3a. Conochares alter (BugGuide page is a typo, species should be altera) is now Ponometia altera
3b. Conochares arizonae is now Ponometia elegantula
4. Genus Hemispragueia is lumped into new genus Tarache
5. Genus Tarachidia is lumped into genus Ponometia
6. Genus Therasea is lumped into genus Tarache


1. Acronicta mansueta is now a syn of Acronicta facula (hodges# 9214)
2. Acronicta furcifera is now a syn of Acronicta hasta
3. Genus Miracavira is moved to Subfamily Amphipyrinae, Tribe Psaphidini
4. Genus Eulithosia is moved to Subfamily Amphipyrinae, Tribe Stiriini
5. Genus Alypiodes is moved to Subfamily Agaristinae

Agaristinae: [no changes]


1. Divided into tribes Amphipyrini, Psaphidini, Stiriini
2. Genus Amphipyra placed in tribe Amphipyrini
- Note: many genera are moved into this subfamily from other subfamilies; those changes are listed corresponding to the subfamily of which they currently are placed in the guide.


1. The tribe Cydosiini is elevated to subfamily status (Cydosiinae).


1. Cryphia viridata is now Bryolymnia viridata in subfamily Noctuinae, tribe Elaphriini


1. Genus Crambodes moved to tribe Leuconyctini
2. Genus Diastema moved to tribe Leuconyctini


1. Stylopoda sexpunctata is now Copanarta sexpunctata in subfamily Oncocnnemidinae
2. Genus Neogalea is moved to subfamily Oncocnemidinae
3. Unciella primula is moved to Subfamily Amphipyrinae, Tribe Psaphidini

Diphtherinae: [no changes]

Eriopinae: [no changes]


1. Tripudia inquaesita is now a syn of Tripudia damozela
2. Thioptera aurifera is now Marimatha trupuncta
3. Thioptera nigrofamibria is now Marimatha nigrofamibria
4. Pseudeustrotia carneola is moved to Subfamily Noctuinae, Tribe Pseudeustrotiini
5. Anterastria teratophora is moved to Subfamily Noctuinae, Tribe Pseudeustrotiini
6. Cobubatha basicinerea is now a syn. of Cobubatha lixiva
7. Cobubatha antonita is now a syn of Cobubatha orthozona
8. Metaponpneumata rogenhoferi is moved to Subfamily Amphipyrinae, Tribe Psaphidini
9. Lithacodia albidula and Lithacodia muscosula are now in genus Protodeltote
10. Genus Cerma moved to subfamily Acronictinae
11. Genus Amyna moved to subfamily Bagisarinae
11a. Amyna octo is now a syn of Amyna axis
12. Eumicremma minima is now Eublemma minima in new subfamily Eublemminae within the family Erebidae
13. Genus Hyperstrotia is moved to subfamily Phytometrinae within the family Erebidae


1. The subfamily is reduced to a tribe (Glottulini) within the Noctuinae


1. All Tribes (Eriopygini, Hadenini, Orthosiini, and Leucaniini) are moved to Subfamily Noctuinae
2. Ursogastra lunata is now Hypotrix lunata
3. Trichorthosia diplogramma is now Hypotrix diplogramma
4. Polia detracta is now Orthodes detracta in tribe Eriopygini (Noctuinae)
5. Spirameter grandis is now Lacanobia grandis
6. Genus Admetovis is now in tribe Orthosiini (Noctuinae)
7. Genus Cerapteryx is now in tribe Tholerini (Noctuinae)
8. Genus Nephelodes is now in tribe Tholerini (Noctuinae)
9. Genus Stretchia is now in tribe Orthosiini (Noctuinae)
10. Discestra mutata and D. trifolii are now in genus Anarta
11. Faronta spp. are transfered to genus Dargida in tribe Hadenini (Noctuinae)
12. Genus Lasionycta is moved to tribe Eriopygini (Noctuinae)
13. Lasionycta wyatti and L. arietis are moved to genus Psammopolia in tribe Eriopygini
14. Genus Dargida is moved to tribe Hadenini (Noctuinae)
15. Leucania latiuscula is now L. subpunctata


1. Heliothis phloxiphagus is now Heliothis phloxiphaga
2. Heliothodes joachin is a syn of H. diminutiva
3. Pyrrhia adela is now a syn of P. cilisca
4. Schinia sueta is now Schinia suetus
5. Schinia chrysella is now Schinia chrysellus


1. All genera in the current tribe Noctuini are moved to Subtribe Noctuina
2. All genera in tribe Agrotini are moved to Subtribe Agrotina in the Tribe Noctuini
3. Euxoa servita is now E. servitus
4. Euxoa terrena is now E. terrenus
5. Xestia normaniana is now X. normanianus


1. Homohadena spp. moved to genus Sympistis
2. Adita spp. moved to genus Sympistis
3. Apharetra spp. moved to genus Sympistis
4. Lepipolys spp. moved to genus Sympistis
5. Oncocnemis spp. moved to genus Sympistis


1. Panthea pallescens is now a syn of P. furcilla ssp. furcilla


1. Pseudoplusia includens is now Chrysodeixis includens


1. The subfamily Psaphidinae is now a tribe (Psaphidini) within Subfamily Amphipyrinae
2. Tribes Feraliini, Psaphidini, Triocnemidini, and Nocloini are now subtribes within the Psaphidini (Feraliina, Psaphidina, Triocnemidina, and Nocloina)
3. Oxycnemis gracillima is now Oxycnemis gracillinea


1. Subfamily Raphiinae is now Subfamily Dilobinae
2. Raphia coloradensis is a syn of R. frater


1. All tribes (Annaphilini, Azenini, Grotellini, Stiriini) moved to subfamily Amphipyrinae and are now subtribes (Annaphilina, Azenina, Grotellina, Stiriina) in the Tribe Stiriini
2. Genus Neumoegenica assigned to subtribe Stiriina
3. Genera Argentostiria, Chamaeclea, Thurberiphaga are unassigned to subtribe within tribe Stiriini
4. Genus Emarginea assigned to subtribe Nocloina (Tribe Psaphidini)


1. Ufeinae is now treated as Subtribe Ufeina within tribe Xylenini within the Noctuinae

Noctuidae has been updated according to Lafontaine and Schmidt 2010.

the Acontiinae... where do I place obsolete genera?

obsolete genera
You could delete them (if you can), but if they can't be deleted they can be moved here
If a guide page has anything below it (other pages, images, links, or books) it can't be deleted.

I asked Bob Patterson about this issue, and he tells me that an updated checklist of Noctuoidea by Don Lafontaine and Chris Schmidt will be published at ZooKeys in February. I propose that we undergo an overhaul of the superfamily to align it with that reference once it is available. Bob has passed along an Excel file that incorporates a draft version of this list, and as Marius suggested above, Erebidae, Nolidae, Arctiidae, and Lymantriidae will all be considered part of Noctuidae.

New checklist published today
Lafontaine and Schmidt's updated Noctuoidea checklist was published today on ZooKeys (Issue 40). I havn't looked through the whole thing yet, but the abstract cites 166 taxonomic changes (one notable change which I found after a few seconds of skimming the paper is the treatment of the Arctiinae within the family Erebidae). I'm sure many of the "in-the-know" moth folks already know of many of the changes (Bob Patterson is credited for creating the new numbering system on p.8), but now the reference is publicly available. I will look through it some more later.

In regard to the new numbering system, I assume we'll be implementing that system here on BugGuide sometime soon. I was wondering, how does everyone feel about using the new Patterson numbers while also having a place for the old Hodges numbering for cross reference? Too much hassle or good for continuity?

I favor keeping the old Hodges numbers as a secondary cross reference - maybe in a field with taxonomic changes. We could implement the Patterson numbers in place of the current field, and simply write "Formerly Hodges (or MONA) # ----" in the Taxonomic Changes field on the info page. That should enable the old numbers to be searched and cross referenced.

I don't generally pay too much attention to the numbering, but I think if the field is labeled "Hodges #" then the number displayed there should be the number from the Hodges checklist. It certainly makes sense to adopt the newer numbering system, so possible solutions that I see would be either creating a new field in addition to the Hodges field, just for Noctuoidea, or renaming the Hodges field "MPG #". The latter solution would take care of other inconsistencies with the Hodges list; for instance, I think MPG is using a new numbering system for Tortricidae, and the BugGuide numbers are a random assortment of old and new?

Possibly adding a new field for Patterson #'s might be a good idea (if at all possible). The Hodges should certainly be retained because of the decades of reference material using this system. It is inconsistent, especially in light of the new checklist, but that doesn't really bother me. I was never a big checklist user, unlike some colleagues I can't recite Hodges numbers for each species.

I like the new Patterson system, but it will probably be used in conjunction with Hodges for quite a while to come.

There Are NO "Patterson numbers." Please don't use the term.
Hodges numbers will continue to be used at MPG and at many other Internet resources. They should not be discontinued. All new species at MPG will continue to receive new Hodges numbers (and if in Noctuoidea, also new 93nnnn sequence numbers). All the other superfamilies will eventually receive 2-digit prefixes similar to 93nnnn to permit sorting by phylogenetic sequence when new phylogenetic lists become available.

Hodges numbers, when used at both BugGuide and MPG, permit relatively easy linking between the two database systems. At MPG we update about every six months links from our species pages to BugGuide species or guide pages.

[Editors: Bugguide needs to eventually add "MPG#xxxx" in the species names and in the links at the top of the moth pages. The reason: MPG is BG's source for moth taxonomy. You can take out the numbers altogether, but if you're going to have any, you need to include one that's labeled "MPG," for the above reason.]

There really are no MPG numbers necessary.....
Every moth shown at MPG, even if shown at Genus, Tribe, or Family level or at some other level other than a named species, is given a Hodges number. All links between MPG and BugGuide can accurately be made based on Hodges number. There is no need to confuse the issue by considering new phylogenetic sequence numbers shown at MPG (THEY might change over time). THINK HODGES.

About every six months or so Mike Boone furnishes me with a list of all moth guide pages at BugGuide. If some of the newer pages at BugGuide do not contain the Hodges number in the field provided for them, I insert the number. I then make sure that every species page at MPG that has a counterpart at BugGuide shows a link to BugGuide.

The reverse is not always true. Many species or guide pages at BugGuide do not have links to MPG (or anywhere else). That is simply too big a task for me to take on. Perhaps some other BG Editor would like to spend the winter doing it.

I was under the impression that a given species could have one "Hodges number" under the 1983 monograph and yet have a different current "Hodges number" according to MPG. Is that the case, or is MPG leaving the original Hodges numbers unchanged and just adding new ones in the gaps (or with decimals when there isn't a gap)?

[edit: also, when I go to MPG, I see lots of numbers without any indication of whether they are "Hodges numbers" or MPG's "new phylogenetic sequence numbers." For example, on the MPG plate homepage, are those Hodges numbers, non-Hodges numbers, or a mixture of both? And take this species page at MPG. It says "000050 – 0001." Is that a new phylogenetic sequence number, or a Hodges number, or a combination of the two? I'm not suggesting that you change your site, but Bugguide editors should be mindful of these things in deciding how best to reference or link to MPG.]

I've been under the same impression
There's one place where the "Hodges" numbers were replaced (Bob Patterson's explanation here. Unless Bob has reversed that, MPG Hodges numbers aren't entirely the same as real Hodges numbers.

I suppose we could refer to them as "MPG Hodges Numbers" in the minority of cases where there's a difference.

Apparently I was wrong about what Bob meant, and I appreciate his patient clarification :-)

For whatever it's worth, I probably support what you mentioned, Chuck, about attaching a modifier to "Hodges number," at least when one is discussing a species that currently has more than one Hodges number, as many Cochylines do. But either way, this whole discussion has been very helpful for me.

One question. The MPG species page for Aethes angulatana and the MPG species page for Aethes seriatana, for example, each have a 1983 Hodges number and a "new" Hodges number. That's fine and good, but the bugguide species page for angulata is titled with the 1983 number, whereas the bugguide species page for seriatana is titled with the "new" number.

I realize that Bugguide's editors probably haven't had time to conform all such pages, but is it also up in the air which Hodges number they should be using?

I think I understand :-)
Hopefully Bob will correct me if I'm wrong, but I think his main point is that Bugguide should keep using Hodges numbers instead of switching to phylogenetic numbers. I think that, as long as bugguide is using Hodges numbers, he would agree that Bugguide should call them whatever it needs to call them in order to avoid confusing its users. Am I right on either count, Bob?

They Should Be Called Hodges Numbers and Nothing Else......
..... in my opinion. The Hodges list (Edited 1983 by Ron Hodges, et al.) and its original numbers are copyrighted by the Wedge Entomological Research Foundation. The name "Hodges List" is a popular construct recognized by everyone having much to do with moths in North America. It simply would be confusing to call those numbers by any other name. WERF has been discussing the possibility of revising and republishing their list. I hope they don't, because such a revised list would be just another interim non-phylogenetic one, doomed to the scrapheap of scientific progress, and we would then have to deal with Hodges1 and Hodges2 numbers (IF they even bother to number a new list, they might do it just to keep track of synonymies). Since 1983 individuals have been of necessity adding to the list and even moving some species to new locations where they were assigned new (different) numbers. None of the post-1983 modifications were "official" WERF actions, just recognized within the lepidopteran community as necessary. Nevertheless, it would be very confusing and totally unnecessary to call the numbers anything other than Hodges numbers.

Good Point....That's the only place I've done that (Cochylini)
....and I show the old Hodges numbers in brackets. When we get to giving Tortricidae a new phylo sequence we can revert to the old or original Hodges numbers for Cochylini. But it makes no sense to do so until then. Otherwise it would look like two decks of cards were shuffled together with species in several genera interleaved in Aethes.

[posted by mistake]
[duplicate comment deleted]

There will be two Plates Menus at MPG....
.... one showing phylogenetic sequence numbers (always 6 digit, Noctuoidea are 930001-933693) and with species displayed in that sequence. Current plates show Hodges numbers running from 0001 - 11233 and display the photos in Hodges sequence. Either numbering system may have decimal suffixes.

Captions under photos and species page numbering (either system) will look like

932313 - 9325 - Apamea cuculiiformes

Phylo - Hodges - Latin Name

There are at present no true phylogenetic sequences outside the Noctuoidea. We do show 6 digit phylo numbers for everything but they are simply dummy numbers at present for non-Noctuoids. This will change over time as more families are treated phylogenetically by taxonomists using DNA relationships.

I went through the Erebidae section of Lafontaine and Schmidt and updated our taxonomy so that at least the subfamily relationships are consistent... tiger moths and tussock moths are completely in agreement with their taxonomy now, I think, but in the other subfamilies there are probably some genera that are out of place, so it would be worthwhile for someone to go through those more thoroughly. I haven't touched the other families, for the most part.

The one thing left to do with tiger moths is to move these images. I started to, but I realized that the Balabans are subscribed to pretty much every image of a tiger moth caterpillar and are probably cursing me right now for flooding their email account--sorry about that!--so I'm going to stop for now.

went through the rest of Erebidae
I looked through the rest of the Erebidae, excluding the Lymantriinae and Arctiinae (as you have done those already), and also excluding the Erebinae (I figure it will take slightly longer to go through those). Here is a list of the changes:

- Zanclognatha bryanti is now Zanclognatha lutalba ssp. bryanti
- Genus Colobochyla is now in subfamily Hypeninae
- Genus Melanomma is now in subfamily Hypeninae
- Genus Bomolocha is lumped into genus Hypena
- Genus Zelicodes is now in subfamily Rivulinae
- Anomis commoda is now a syn of Anomis privata
- Genus Isogona is now in subfamily Phytometrinae
- Genus Bandelia is now in subfamily Phytometrinae

Also went through the Notodontidae, only two changes there:

- Pheosia portlandia is a syn of Pheosia rimosa
- Notodonta simplaria is now Notodonta torva ssp. simplaria

There are no changes to the Euteliidae.

I tried to go through very carefully and I hope I did not miss any other changes. Tonight I will try to get through the Erebinae unless anybody else is already taking that on.

I've just made all those changes...
This Bomolocha page still exists--the species had all already been moved--do people think this guide page should be kept?

Nice work Charley
As for the Bomolocha page, I am not sure what to do with it... personally I am not sure that it is neccesary, as any information on it that is deemed important can always be moved to the Hypena page. But it is probably best to wait for the opinions of some of the more respected moth people.

Anyway, I went through the Erebinae, here is a list of the changes:

- Catocala texarkana is now a ssp. Of Catocala pretiosa
- Cissusa subtermina is now a ssp. Of Cissusa indiscreta
- Genus Argyrostrotis is now in tribe Poaphilini
- Genus Cutina is now in tribe Poaphilini
- Genus Parallelia is now in tribe Poaphilini
- Genus Allotria is now in tribe Poaphilini
- Euclidia diagonalis is now Callistege diagonalis
- Euclidia intercalaris is now Callistege intercalaris
- Genus Epidromia is now in subfamily Erebinae, tribe Ophiusini
- Dysgonia consobrina is now Neadysgonia consobrina in new tribe Poaphilini
- Dysgonia smithii is now Neadysgonia smithii in new tribe Poaphilini

Most of these are just tagging and moving
genera, so those should be relatively easy and not generate a flood of emails the way moving individual images does. Nice!

Yes, we did wonder about the hundred plus emails
we got this morning! :)

It may make sense to discuss in the forums here what changes are needed to bring us up to date on the Noctuids. It used to be that only John VanDyk could move entire sections from family to subfamily or subfamily to tribe, etc. But with his new small group of software-savvy technological editors, it may be that others can do that now too.

In other words if the entire node for Arctiidae has to become a node Arctiinae under Erebidae, it may be that someone can do that with one big move and no emails. Once people figure out what has to happen to fix our taxonomical tree, let's post it here and see if someone can figure out an easy way to accomplish it.

Thanks to Charley for kickstarting us on this. Let's figure out the easiest to accomplish what we need done.

Will somebody move the Arctidae to its rightful place soon? Still trying to figure out the best way to do it?

I'll do it
if people don't mind the emails. It might annoy the editors, but some contibutors might like finding out about the change? I know sometimes I miss taxonomy changes and would like notificattion.

Please give this some time to simmer here
before making any changes, and we'll need some online references to use as a guide to making changes. We have been using All-Leps, but we think the current suggestion is to switch to MPG. We don't remember seeing whether that suggestion received significant support. That should be part of this discussion.

Moth Photographers Group
I believe no one has directly responded to that suggestion, one way or the other. I think it is a good way to go for species-level taxonomy, but MPG doesn't usually include tribes, and it's not always clear which species belong to which subfamily. See for instance this page. So I agree, we need some other online moth references.

Bringing Noctuoidea up to date
We already have Pantheinae within Noctuidae. Should the subfamilies of Nolidae be moved to Noctuidae, as you suggest for Erebidae, or does Nolidae become Nolinae and its subfamilies become tribes? Sounds like it's too early to make any changes to Arctiidae and Lymantriidae, but I'm all for bringing the others up to date.

Hi Charley,

Nolidae is treated as subfamily in Noctuidae. Therefore, its subfamilies become tribes.

I remember back when i was much younger people used to treat Ctenuchini as a family proper (Ctenuchidae). Many people resisted the (radical) change when it became part of Arctiidae and later just a tribe, but that doesn't change the fact that it was an unnatural grouping by itself. Objective logic and scientific evidence should be the ones guiding our taxonomic choises. However, i agree that such big changes do need time getting used to.


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