Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada

Superfamily Pyraloidea - Pyralid and Crambid Snout Moths

Palpita kimballi? - Diaphania costata 8034804 snout Perispasta caeculalis Terrenella Bee Moth - Aphomia terrenella Bandera binotella Mottled crambid moth - Neodactria luteolellus Tiny moth with clear wings? (NOT the hummingbird sp) Sitochroa palealis
Show images of: caterpillars · adults · both
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
Superfamily Pyraloidea (Pyralid and Crambid Snout Moths)
1,542 species in our area (1).
Adults - head bears long and porrect or upturned labial palpi. The maxillary palpi are generally present. The main external characters supporting the monophyly of the group are the basally scaled proboscis and the paired tympanal organs situated ventrally on the 2nd abdominal segment. Tympanal organs enable moths to detect the ultrasounds of insectivorous bats. Many superfamilies within the obtectomeran Lepidoptera (the groups with obtect pupae) have tympanal organs, but they are not homologous. Only Geometroidea have tympanal organs which are also situated on the 2nd abdominal segment, but they are distinct in structure and evolved independently. It is generally accepted that Lepidopteran tympanal organs co-evolved with the sonar system of bats. In Achroia grisella and Galleria mellonella (Pyralidae, Galleriinae), the moths also possess tymbal organs on the tegulae to produce ultrasound for intraspecific, accoustic communication (2)

For how to separate Crambidae from Pyralidae, see here.
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 spp.), predate upon scale insects (certain Phycitinae spp.), or live in the nests of bees (Galleriinae spp.). The larvae of the Acentropinae 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 (from
Solis, M. Alma (2007) Phylogenetic studies and modern classification of the Pyraloidea (Lepidoptera)
Pyraloidea, the third largest superfamily of the Lepidoptera, is comprised of two families - Pyralidae and Crambidae. The history of families previously placed in the Pyraloidea is discussed. The group now includes about 16,000 species worldwide. Morphologically, the superfamily is defined by a basally scaled proboscis and the presence of abdominal tympanal organs. The larvae of many species are economically important pests of crops (e. g.: sugarcane, corn, rice), and stored products such as seeds and grains. Currently 22 subfamilies comprise the Pyraloidea; only the 19 subfamilies that occur in the Western Hemisphere are discussed. There is a paucity of recent research using cladistic methods and phylogenetic analyses across all taxa.
Print References
Scholtens, B.G., Solis, A.M., 2015. Annotated check list of the Pyraloidea (Lepidoptera) of America North of Mexico. ZooKeys 535: 1–136 (1)
Solis, M. Alma (2007) Phylogenetic studies and modern classification of the Pyraloidea (Lepidoptera) (read online)
Internet References
GlobIZ - online platform for specialists working on Pyraloidea - Nuss, Landry, Vegliante, Tränkner, Mally, Hayden, Segerer, Li, Schouten, Solis, Trofimova, De Prins & Speidel (2)
Works Cited
1.Annotated check list of the Pyraloidea (Lepidoptera) of America North of Mexico
Scholtens, B.G., Solis, A.M. 2015. ZooKeys 535: 1–136. doi: 10.3897/zookeys.535.6086.
2.Global Information System on Pyraloidea (GlobIZ)