The superfamily Cimelioidea (formerly Axioidea) consists of the single family Cimeliidae (formerly Axiidae), which contains six species (Yen and Minet 2007) placed in two genera, Axia (five species) and Epicimelia (one species). Their distribution is circum-Mediterranean, including southern Europe, the Middle East and northern Africa. Monophyly for this family is supported by possession on the seventh abdominal segment of the adult of a unique pair of pocket-like organs, of unknown fuction, associated with the spiracles. The moths are medium-sized and generally bearing bright colors including gold, hence the common name 'gold moths.' Excellent images of live adult Axia margarita can be found at Moths and Butterflies of Europe and North Africa. The early stages of several species have been studied; all known larvae feed on Euphorbia (Euphorbiaceae).
Evolution and Systematics
The phylogenetic position of Cimeliidae has always been a puzzle (Yen and Minet 2007). Most recently (Minet 1991; Minet 1999; Beljaev 2009)these moths have been thought to belong to a large clade-the "Geometromorpha" of Fänger (1999)- consisting of Cimelioidea, Calliduloidea, Geometroidea, Drepanoidea and the butterflies sensu lato (Hedyloidea + Hesperioidea + Papilionoidea). Strong evidence against this hypothesis, however, has emerged from recent molecular studies (Regier, Zwick et al. 2009; Cho, Zwick et al., submitted). In the molecular trees, the "Geometromorpha" are never monophyletic; indeed, the butterflies never group with other Macrolepidoptera. The placement of Cimeliidae is unstable and never strongly supported; the two commonly-observed possibilities are as sister group to Mimallonidae, or to Doidae. Thus, the phylogenetic position of Cimeliidae remains mysterious.
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage
Specimen Records: 9
Specimens with Sequences: 9
Specimens with Barcodes: 6
Species With Barcodes: 3
Public Records: 3
Public Species: 2
Public BINs: 1
Cimeliidae or the "Gold moths" (formerly known as Axiidae) is a family of moths whose precise relationships within the Macrolepidoptera are currently uncertain, but they currently represent the only family in a recently recognized superfamily whose nearest relatives include the butterflies, Calliduloidea, Drepanoidea, Geometroidea, Bombycoidea, Mimallonoidea and Lasiocampoidea, and the Noctuoidea. Uniquely, they have a pair of pocket-like organs on the seventh abdominal spiracle of the adult moth which are only possibly sound receptive organs. They are quite large and brightly coloured moths that occur only in Southern Europe and feed on species of Euphorbia. Sometimes they are attracted to light.
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- Shen-Horn Yen & Joël Minet (2007). "Cimelioidea: a new superfamily name for the gold moths (Lepidoptera: Glossata)" (PDF). Zoological Studies 46 (3): 262–271.
- J. Minet (1999). "The Axioidea and Calliduloidea". In N. P. Kristensen. Lepidoptera, Moths and Butterflies. Volume 1: Evolution, Systematics, and Biogeography. Handbuch der Zoologie. Eine Naturgeschichte der Stämme des Tierreiches. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin & New York. pp. 257–261.
- J. Minet & A. Surlykke (2003). "Auditory and sound producing organs". In N. P. Kristensen. Lepidoptera, moths and butterflies. Volume 2: Morphology and Physiology. Handbuch der Zoologie. Eine Naturgeschichte der Stämme des Tierreiches. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin. pp. 289–323.
- Yen, S.-H.; Minet, J. 2007: Cimelioidea: a new superfamily name for the gold moths (Lepidoptera: Glossata). Zoological studies, 46(3): 262-271. 
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