Overview

Brief Summary

Diversity

Diversity description:

Approximately 13 genera and over 100 species (Heppner 1991) have been reported from nearly every major region except Antarctica and New Zealand. Because of their minute size and diurnal habit Heliozelidae are seldom collected. The neotropical fauna is especially poorly known. The most plesiomorphic genus. Plesiozela, is known from temperate areas in austral South America (Karsholt and Kristensen, 2003). Most of the species are included within the genera Heliozela. Antispila, and Coptodisca.

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Distribution

Geographical Distribution

Geographic Range:

Nearctic, Palearctic, Oriental, Ethiopian, Neotropical, Australian, Oceanic Island

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Physical Description

Morphology

Egg morphology

Orientation:

flat

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Larvae Morphology

Number of stemmata:

from 2 to 5

Larval head description:

Head mostly prognathous, strongly depressed with 2- 5 pairs of stemmata.

Secondary setae:

absent

Body setae on verrucae:

absent

Body setae on chalazae:

absent

Body setae on scoli:

absent

Larval body description:

Body white to pale yellow or green, usually with brownish to black pronotum and anal plate, sometimes with a series of nearly contiguous, mid-dorsal dark plates down length of body; 4-6 mm in length.

Spinneret:

present

Larval thorax description:

Legs usually absent, well developed, 5-segmented in some Heliozela (Davis 1987). Coxal plates, if present, separated. Paired ventral and dorsal ambulatory calli sometimes present on T1 and 2.

Thoracic glands:

absent

Thoracic legs:

present, absent

Pairs of thoracic legs:

from 0 to 3

Larval abdomen description:

Prolegs either absent or nearly so. Some Antispila and Coptodisca with fused, ventral ambulatory calli on A3-6; paired dorsal and ventral call1 also present on A8 in Coptodisca, but only a single mid-dorsal callus on A8 in Antispila.

Abdominal glands:

absent

Abdominal prolegs:

present, absent

Pairs of abdominal legs:

from 0 to 4

Proleg configuration:

normal

Proleg size:

vestigial

Crochets:

multiserial, in longitudinal rows

Crochet arrangement description:

Crochets usually absent, present on A3-6 in some Heliozela and consisting of multiserial rows of simple, enlarged spines resembling those of Adelidae except planta sometimes not separated mesally; crochets always absent on A10.

Anal comb on A10:

absent

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Pupa/Cocoon morphology

Pupa type:

adecticous, exarate

Pupa description:

The pupa is very small with a length ranging usually between 2-3 mm. Cuticle thin, transparent. Head smoothly round; antenna short, less than half the length of wing; scape cylindrical. Abdomen with  dense patches of minute. scattered dorsal spines; segments A2-8 movable in male, A2-7 in female (Mosher 1916). Spiracles either raised or flush.

Pupal tergal spines:

present

Spines as modified cremaster:

absent

Number of rows of tergal spines:

from multiple

Cocoon:

absent

Cocoon description:

Pupation occurs inside larval case.

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Adult Abdomen Morphology

Reproductive system:

Monotrysian

Oviscapt (ovipositor):

piercing

Female genitalia description:

Oviscapt with depressed, moderately broad apex terminating in 4-5 minute cusps. Spermatheca with lateral lagena (Razowski and Wojtusiak 1978). Ductus bursae sometimes with small spines; corpus bursae entirely membranous, without signa.

Female corethrogyne:

absent

Female pregenital sexual scales:

absent

Female oviduct opening:

in cloaca

Male coremata:

absent

Male pregenital sexual scales:

absent

Male genitalia description:

Uncus indistinct, shallowly bilobed. Vinculum well developed with an elongate, broad, V-shaped saccus. Valvae with a single pair of pectinifers, each bearing about 5-20 spines. Juxta slender, sagittate. Aedoeagus an elongate tube usually equalling length of saccus; cornuti present.

Sternum 5:

without fenestra

Sternum 5 gland:

absent

Adult abdomen description:

Anterior third of S2 with broad U-shaped caudal rim; S7 of female with caudal margin rounded.

Male has:

phallotheca and aedeagus (phallus)

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Adult Thorax Morphology

Scale tufts:

absent

Epiphysis:

present, absent

Adult thorax description:

Lateral angles of laterocervical sclerites broad, triangular. Metafurca with dorsal apophyses moderate to well developed, arising perpendicular from mesa1 lamella free from secondary arms of metafurca sternum.

Forelegs:

normal

Number of tibial spurs foreleg:

from 0

Number of tibial spurs midleg:

from 2

Number of tibial spurs hindleg:

from 4

Leg description:

Legs with tibial spur pattern of 0-2-4; epiphysis usually present, absent in Coptodisca.

Forewing length from base of forewing to the apex (mm):

from 1.7. to 7.0

Wing venation??description:

Forewing radius with 3 or 4 branches; Rs4 stalked to M1 and terminating on costa near apex; discal cell either open or closed; accessory cell absent; M with 1 or 2 branches; CuA with 1-2 branches; 1A + 2A without basal fork;

Wing venation:

heteroneurous

Forewing anal vein notation:

1A+2A

Forewing basal loop:

absent

Forewing pterostigma:

absent

Forewing chorda:

absent

Number of Rs veins in forewing:

from 2 to 3

Number of M veins in forewing:

from 1 to 2

Forewing upper surface with microtrichia:

present

Hindwing anal vein notation:

1A+2A

Number of anal veins reaching margin:

from 1 to 2

Hindwing cell vein:

absent

Number of Rs veins in hindwing:

from 1

Number of M veins in hindwing:

from 1 to 2

Hindwing pterostigma:

absent

Wing coupling:

present, with frenulum

Wing coupling description:

Frenulum a single large bristle in male with 4-6 smaller costal setae and with usually 2 small bristles in female.

Wing scales:

hollow

Forewing description:

Forewings broadly lanceolate, index 3.4- 3.6; microtrichia mostly restricted to subhumeral and subanal areas; scales often lustrous; male retinaculum a triangular lobe from costa; retinaculum consisting of 3-4 stout, curved spines from a small swelling at base of Sc.

Hindwing description:

Hindwings more slender, lanceolate, index 0.2-0.28; MCuA crossvein absent, discal cell open; M with 1 or 2 branches; 1A + 2A usually fused, rarely divided near margin.

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Tympanum Morphology

Counter-tympanum:

absent

Abdomen tympanum:

absent

Thorax tympanum:

absent

Palp tympanum:

absent

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Adult Head Morphology

Ocelli:

absent

Eyes:

smooth

Number of labial palp segments:

from 3

Labial palpus modification:

Labial palpi moderately short, 3-segmented, drooping.

Maxillary palpus:

present

Number of maxillary palp segments:

from 3 to 5

Number of chaetosomata:

from 0

Proboscis:

present

Proboscis texture:

naked

Proboscis description:

Proboscis moderate to long, 1.5-2.0X the length of labial palpi, unscaled, occasionally with base concealed by elongate, lamellar scales from labrum.

Mandibles:

reduced

Head vertex scaling:

very rough, very smooth

Female antennae:

filiform

Female scape description:

Scape smooth, entirely covered with usually iridescent scales; pecten absent.

Female flagellomere description:

Flagellum filiform, fully scaled to apex but more sparsely  scaled ventrally; a single ring of scales per segment.

Male antennae:

filiform

Male scape description:

Same as female

Male flagellomere description:

Same as female

Antennal sensillum:

Antennal sensillum present

Sensillum vesiculocladum:

absent

Asciod sensilla:

absent

Number of flagellomere scale rows:

from 1

General antennae description:

Antennae 0.4-0.6 the length of forewing.

Adult head description:

Vertex typically smooth with broad, laminate, iridescent scales directed down over similarly smooth frons; head rough with pilform  scales in one South American genus, Plesiozela (Karsholt & Kristensen, 2003). Eyes small, interocular index 0.6-0.7: cornea with sparse, scattered interfacetal microsetae. Pilifers present or absent. Mandibles vestigial. Maxillary palpi reduced in length, not geniculate, usually 3 -5 short segments, reduced to 1 minute segment in Coptodisca.

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Diagnostic Description

Synapomorphies

Apomorphies:

The principle autapomorphy for the family is the loss of the M-CuA crossvein in the hindwing.

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Adult Behavior

Adult behavior:

diurnal

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Reproduction

Life History: Immature Stages

Pupa life history description:

Pupation inside larval case with pupa partially extruded at eclosion.

Larval food habits description:

At least 13 families of mostly woody trees,shrubs, and vines have been reported as hosts with the Betulaceae, Cornaceae, Fagaceae, and Vitaceae particularly favored.

Life history larvae:

Most first instar larvae begin a short, serpentine mine that is abruptly enlarged into a small, full depth blotch with the frass retained inside the mine. All instars mine except the last, which constructs a flat, oval case by cutting sections from the upper  and lower epidermis of the mine and joining them with silk. The lenticular shape of the case, which is either carried or dragged by the larva, provides the origin of this family's common name. 'shield bearers'. In most instances the larvae release a silk strand to lower themselves usually to the ground to pupate amongst leaf litter. Sometimes the cases are attached to the bark of the host plant. Abandoned mines with small oval holes are characteristic of the leaf damage caused by these insects. Some Heliozela mine twigs, petioles, leaf ribs, or initiate galls (Needham et al. 1928, McGuffin and Neunzig 1985).

Description of egg life history:

The egg is poorly known; it is inserted singly into host  tissue by the female.

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Life History: Adults

Life cycle description:

Most species are probably univoltine, less commonly bivoltine.

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Evolution and Systematics

Evolution

Fossil Record

Fossil record:

No fossil record known

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats
Specimen Records: 362
Specimens with Sequences: 302
Specimens with Barcodes: 267
Species: 66
Species With Barcodes: 63
Public Records: 92
Public Species: 21
Public BINs: 23
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Barcode data

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Wikipedia

Heliozelidae

A family of primitive monotrysian moths in the order Lepidoptera, Heliozelidae are small, metallic day-flying moths with shiny smooth heads. In Europe the small adult moths (genera Antispila and Heliozela) are seldom noticed as they fly quite early in the Spring. The larvae are leaf miners[1] and the vacated leaf mines are distinctive because the larva leaves a large hole at the end.

The family is worldwide but the recently discovered genus Plesiozela from southern South America (which has five segments in the labial palps) may represent the sister group of living heliozelids (Karsholt and Kristensen, 2003).

References[edit]

  • Davis, D.R. (1999). The Monotrysian Heteroneura. Ch. 6, pp. 65-90 in Kristensen, N.P. (Ed.). Lepidoptera, Moths and Butterflies. Volume 1: Evolution, Systematics, and Biogeography. Handbuch der Zoologie. Eine Naturgeschichte der Stämme des Tierreiches / Handbook of Zoology. A Natural History of the phyla of the Animal Kingdom. Band / Volume IV Arthropoda: Insecta Teilband / Part 35: 491 pp. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin, New York.
  • Heppner, J. B. (1984). Heliozelidae. Pages 18-19 in Atlas of Neotropical Lepidoptera. 2. Checklist. pt. 1, Micropterigoidea-Immoidea. J. B. Heppner, ed. W. Junk, The Hague, Boston.
  • Karsholt, O. and N. P. Kristensen. 2003. Plesiozela, gen. nov. from temperate South America: apparent sister-group of the previously known Heliozelidae (Lepidoptera: Incurvarioidea: Heliozelidae). Invertebrate Systematics, 17(1): 39-46.
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