Erebidae, Leach, 1815

Pohl, Greg, Anweiler, Gary, Schmidt, Christian & Kondla, Norbert, 2010, An annotated list of the Lepidoptera of Alberta, Canada, ZooKeys 38 (38), pp. 1-549: 236

publication ID 10.3897/zookeys.38.383


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60. Erebidae  - quadrifine noctuoids

As currently defined, this is a very large assemblage of noctuoid moths, with an enormous diversity in size, facies, ecology and biology. Although relatively well-supported as a natural group by molecular and morphological data, the phylogeny within this group is still in its infancy – many relationships within the Erebidae  are still poorly resolved, to say nothing of tropical groups that still await discovery and/or phylogenetic placement. There are however also several strongly supported groups now included within the Erebidae  , such as the Lymantriinae, Arctiinae, and Herminiinae. The  Erebidae  as currently defined may well be split into a number of families in the future. It is diffi cult to draw generalizations on such a hyper-diverse group, and brief introductory sections are limited to subfamilies here. As it is currently constituted, Erebidae  is represented by 124 species in AB.

60.1. Lymantriinae  – tussock moths

Mostly medium-sized (30–80 mm wingspan) moths with robust bodies. Wing pattern and color is usually drab, and several genera have wingless ( Orgyia  ) or flightless ( Gynaephora  , some Lymantria  ) females. Th e subfamily Lymantriinae  is thought to be closely related to the Arctiinae  (both groups have hairy larvae), Aganainae  and Herminiinae  . Like the Arctiinae  , the most recent systematic arrangement of the Noctuoidea places the Lymantriinae  as a subfamily of the Erebidae  rather than as a separate family (Lafontaine and Schmidt in press). Larvae are predominantly arboreal, feeding on both deciduous and coniferous woody plants. Many species are host generalists, and a relatively high proportion of this subfamily are forest pests, most notably the Gypsy Moth ( Lymantria dispar  ), the Satin Moth ( Leucoma salicis  ) and the Douglas-fir Tussock Moth ( Orgyia pseudotsugata  ).

Approximately 2500 species of Lymantriinae  are known worldwide, with diversity centered in the Old World tropics: only about 200 species are known from the New World. Th irty-two species occur in North America, nine of which are reported from AB. Ferguson (1978) treated all of the North American Lymantriinae  .