Overview

Brief Summary

Diversity

Diversity description:

More than 3,500 species in this family (Gaede, 1934).

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Introduction

A diverse cosmopolitan family with more than 2,800 described species.

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Comprehensive Description

Characteristics

Synapomorphies supporting the monophyly of Notodontidae include the following (Miller 1991):

Adults

  • sclerotized apices of tibial spurs with margins serrate;
  • metascutal bulla present, teardrop-shaped;
  • forewing vein R2 stalked with R3-5, no accessory cell present;
  • pleuron of female abdominal segment 8 paritally membranous;
  • female abdomen with ventral invaginated glandular region present on membrane between papillae anales and ostium;
  • males with a terminal tuft of long, hairlike scales, scale apices simple or serrate;

Larvae

  • mandibular cutting edge smooth;
  • body evenly covered with secondary setae, large setae or sometimes verrucae present at primary setal locations;
  • MD setae bisetose on abdominal segment 1;
  • seta X located in E area near anterolateral corner of anal shield (or a verruca in that position);
  • crochets uniordinal

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Distribution

Geographical Distribution

Geographic Range:

Nearctic, Palearctic, Oriental, Ethiopian, Neotropical, Australian

Geographic Range description:

This family is distributed worldwide, but is most diverse in lowland tropical forests. Over half the described species are found in the Neotropics.

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Physical Description

Morphology

Egg morphology

Color:

Variable.

Texture:

smooth

Orientation:

upright

Egg mass pattern:

Unknown

Description of egg morphology:

Hemispherical or spherical in shape.

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Pupa/Cocoon morphology

Cremaster:

present, absent

Cocoon:

present, absent

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Adult Abdomen Morphology

Reproductive system:

Ditrysian

Oviscapt (ovipositor):

non-piercing

Female genitalia description:

Scale tuft on segment 7 present in some genera. Dorsum of tergum 8 is typically sclerotized. Degree of sclerotization and length of ductus bursae variable. Posterior margin of the postvaginal plate with numerous modifications.

Female corethrogyne:

present, absent

Female pregenital sexual scales:

present

Female oviduct opening:

below anus

Female bursa ostium opening:

on venter 8

Female anterior apophyses originating:

originating from T8

Male coremata:

present

Male pregenital sexual scales:

absent

Male genitalia description:

Saccus typically absent; Sacculus pleated.

Adult abdomen description:

Andorconia present on segments A3 and A4. Cteniphore on A4 present or absent. Modified anterior apodemes and medial pits occurring on segment A8. Intersegmental membrane of A8/A9 long, terminal scale tuft present.

Male has:

phallotheca and aedeagus (phallus)

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Adult Thorax Morphology

Scale tufts:

absent

Epiphysis:

present

Adult thorax description:

The epiphysis is occasionally absent from the female. The tips of the tibial spurs are typically sclerotized with margins serrated, tibial spur formula is 0-2-2 or 0-2-4.

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:

Tibial spurs typically serrate. Scent organs found on prothoracic legs of some male Nystaleinae and Hemiceratini.

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

from 17 to 22

Wing venation??description:

M2 arises midway between MA1 and MP1; trifid condition.

Wing venation:

heteroneurous

Forewing cell veins:

forked

Forewing basal loop:

absent

Forewing pterostigma:

absent

Forewing chorda:

areole

Hindwing cell vein:

forked

Wing coupling:

present, with frenulum, spines (with reticulatum?)

Wing scales:

hollow

Forewing description:

R2 vein is often stalked with R3-5, and vein M2 does not arise nearer M3 than to M1. Accessory cell present or absent; when present shape of accessory cell variable. Retinaculum is bar-shaped.

Hindwing description:

Hindwing cubital vein can be trifid or quadrifid; M2 typically absent.

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Tympanum Morphology

Counter-tympanum:

present

Counter-tympanum description:

With postspiracular hood-like projection occurs at the base of the abdomen.

Abdomen tympanum:

absent

Abdomen tympanum description:

NA

Thorax tympanum:

present

Thorax tympanum description:

Metathoracic horizontal tympanum present.

Palp tympanum:

absent

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Adult Head Morphology

Ocelli:

present, absent

Eyes:

smooth, hairy

Labial palpus:

porrect, upcurved

Number of labial palp segments:

from 3

Labial palpus modification:

Also, vestigial. Much sexual dimorphism can be observed.

Maxillary palpus:

absent, minute

Number of maxillary palp segments:

from na

Number of chaetosomata:

from na

Proboscis:

present, absent, reduced

Length of proboscis (mm):

from na

Fluted sensilla styloconia on proboscis:

present

Proboscis texture:

scaled

Proboscis description:

Variable, if maxillary palpi are present they are very small.

Mandibles:

absent

Head vertex scaling:

normal

Female antennae:

bipectinate

Female pedicel description:

Not available

Female scape description:

Not available

Female flagellomere description:

Not available

Male antennae:

bipectinate

Male scape description:

Not available

Male pedicel description:

Not available

Male flagellomere description:

Not available

Antennal sensillum:

Antennal sensillum present

General antennae description:

The male antennae are bipectinate and the female antennae are usually weakly bipectinate or simple.

Adult head description:

Well developed ocelli are relatively uncommon in the family but is a synapomorphy for the Dudusinae.  The frons of some adult Notodontidae protrudes and is heavily sclerotized, often with sharp anterior projections or teeth.

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Diagnostic Description

Diagnostic Characters

Other diagnostic characters:

Adults often highly cryptic, forewing in many species with a “tooth” or “prominence” along anal margin; larval head usually much wider than thorax; larva frequently with A10 prolegs reduced, held aloft and not used for walking.

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Adult Behavior

Adult behavior:

diurnal, nocturnal

Adult behavior:

Although Notodontidae are an important component of some moth communities, especially in lowland tropical forests, almost nothing is known about their adult behavior. Females are usually heavy-bodied and do not seem to stray far from their host plant. Perhaps because notodontids are rarely plant pests, their pheromones have not been isolated and their mating behavior has gone essentially unstudied. Males of most species possess highly developed coremata on their genitalia, termed the Barth Organ (Barth, 1955; Weller, 1992). While these are undoubtedly important during courtship, their use has never been documented in nature. Females of some species, particularly in the Thaumetopoeinae and Dioptinae, posses a corethrogyne, comprising a mass of deciduous scales on abdominal segment 7 that are pasted to the surface of the eggs as these are being laid. The corethrogyne is thought to protect the eggs from predators and parasites. Many adult notodontids possess prominent tufts on their head, thorax, wings, or abdomen (see Schintlmeister, 2008). These make the moths incredibly cryptic, causing it to bear remarkable resemblance to a stick or small twig when at rest.

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Reproduction

Life History: Immature Stages

Description of egg life history:

Can be laid in masses. In Thaumetopoeinae, the female covers the egg mass with scales from a specialized tuft on A7-A8, this is also the case in some Dioptinae (Tithraustes, Isostyla, Stenoplastis).

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Life History: Adults

Adult food habits description:

In most subfamilies of the Notodontidae, adults have rarely been observed feeding or visiting flowers. Those with a reduced haustellum (mostly subfamily Notodontinae) do not feed, but probably imbibe water opportunistically. The notodontine genus Gluphisia has been shown to use its small proboscis as a filter, sucking up huge quantities of water from puddles to obtain sodium (Smedley and Eisner, 1995). Species of Euchontha, in the subfamily Dioptinae, are frequently observed puddling (Miller, 2009), also apparently to acquire sodium. These moths often appear amongst huge congregations of puddling butterflies. Dioptines, most of which are diurnal, are atypical in that adults are often seen feeding on nectar [see whole organism image gallery].

Life history adult:

The vast majority of notodontid species are nocturnal and are strongly attracted to lights. In nocturnal forms their metathoracic hearing organ can supposedly detect bat cries (Fullard et al., 2000), whereas in Dioptinae tympanal function seems to have become co-opted for detecting intraspecific sounds produced by a stridulatory organ on the male forewing (Miller, 2009). Little is known regarding the life span of adult Notodontidae.

Life cycle description:

Eggs of Notodontidae are hemispherical or spherical, weakly sculptured, and the micropyle opens dorsally. They are usually deposited singly, but in some taxa are laid in tight masses. Notodontid larvae are well adapted to an arboreal habit, but are generally not capable of rapid locomotion (Ferguson, 1963). Caterpillars of most species possess a prothoracic cervical gland that opens midventrally. This gland is defensive and is capable of spraying formic acid, sometimes for fairly long distances. In the vast majority of Notodontidae, the A10 larval prolegs are reduced and are held aloft. In certain genera, the A10 prolegs are developed into long, whip-like structures called stemapods. Most species pass through five or six larval instars, but members of the tribe Josiini (Dioptinae) are unique in having only four. Caterpillars of the Dicranurinae (formerly Heterocampinae) undergo remarkable changes during development. For example, first instars of Heterocampa bear huge, antler-like structures on the prothorax (Packard, 1895); these are lost in subsequent instars. Pupae are usually formed in an earthen cell or in a cocoon, often in leaf litter. The often colorful pupae of Dioptinae are unusual in being suspended by the cremaster from a plant leaf, in the exposed manner typical of butterflies.

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Evolution and Systematics

Evolution

Systematic and taxonomic history

Systematic and taxonomic history:

The Notodontidae was treated as a separate superfamily, the Notodontoidea, by some previous authors (d’Almeida, 1932; Kiriakoff, 1970a, 1970b; Pinhey, 1975; Common, 1979; Tikhomirov, 1981; Barlow, 1982). However, more recently it is considered a noctuoid family, sister to the Doidae, with Doidae + Notodontidae being the sister clade to the remaining noctuoid families (Mitchell et al., 2006; Fibiger and Lafontaine 2005; Lafontaine and Fibiger, 2006). Thaumetopoeidae, Dioptidae, and Thyretidae have either been treated as separate families, or have been included within either the Notodontidae or Notodontoidea (Kiriakoff, 1963). However, Thyretidae are now a tribe placed within the Arctiidae (Jacobson and Weller, 2002), and the remaining two are notodontid subfamilies (Kitching and Rawlins, 1999). Druce (1897) was the first to classify the world Notodontidae. He divided the family into three families: Ptilodontidae, Melalophidae (= Pygaerinae), and Eupterotidae (= Apatelodidae) (Miller, 1991). Presently, the Apatelodidae is considered to be a family in the Bombycoidea (Forbes, 1939a; Franclemont, 1983). Other workers have treated portions of the notodontid fauna on a regional basis, generating generic and species diagnoses, keys, and checklists (e.g., Druce, 1887; Schaus, 1901; Draudt, 1932; Forbes, 1948; Franclemont, 1983; Godfrey and Appleby, 1987). The first cladistic analysis of notodontid genera was published by Weller (1989). That study focused on the evolutionary relationships of genera in the Neotropical tribe Nystaleini. Cladistic studies based on morphological characters support a monophyletic Notodontidae (Miller, 1991). Presently, 9 subfamilies are recognized: Thaumetopoeinae, Pygaerinae, Platychasmatinae, Notodontinae, Phalerinae, Dudusinae, Heterocampinae, Nystaleinae, and Dioptinae (see Miller 1991 for subfamily descriptions). A key to all Noctuoidea families with trifid forewing venation is provided by Miller (1991).

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Fossil Record

Fossil record:

One fossil genus known, Cerurites, described by Kernbach in 1967. Type specimens are in Germany (Willershausen).

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Discussion of Phylogenetic Relationships

View Notodontidae Tree

The hypothesis of relationships is based on the cladistic analysis of morphology of adult and immature stages by Miller (1991). Some Old World taxa, such as Acrocteninae, Ceirinae, Desmeocraerinae and Hylaeorinae were not addressed in that wirk (Kitching & Rawlins 1999), and are not included in this tree.

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats
Specimen Records: 31982
Specimens with Sequences: 29670
Specimens with Barcodes: 28356
Species: 1942
Species With Barcodes: 1809
Public Records: 15952
Public Species: 737
Public BINs: 898
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Barcode data: Notodontidae spAS11

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


No available public DNA sequences.

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Notodontidae spAS11

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Barcode data: Notodontidae spAS2

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


No available public DNA sequences.

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Notodontidae spAS2

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Barcode data: Notodontidae spAS19

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


No available public DNA sequences.

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Notodontidae spAS19

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Barcode data: Notodontidae spAS18

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


No available public DNA sequences.

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Notodontidae spAS18

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Barcode data: Notodontidae spAS16

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


No available public DNA sequences.

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Notodontidae spAS16

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Barcode data: Notodontidae spAS15

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


No available public DNA sequences.

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Notodontidae spAS15

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 2
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Barcode data: Notodontidae spAS14

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


No available public DNA sequences.

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Notodontidae spAS14

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 3
Specimens with Barcodes: 3
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Barcode data: Notodontidae spAS13

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


No available public DNA sequences.

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Notodontidae spAS13

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 3
Specimens with Barcodes: 3
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Barcode data: Notodontidae spAS8

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


No available public DNA sequences.

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Notodontidae spAS8

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Barcode data: Notodontidae spAS5

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


No available public DNA sequences.

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Notodontidae spAS5

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 2
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Barcode data: Notodontidae spAS10

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


No available public DNA sequences.

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Notodontidae spAS10

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 2
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Barcode data

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Wikipedia

Notodontidae

Notodontidae is a family of moths with approximately 3,800 known species.[1] Moths of this family are found in all parts of the world, but they are most concentrated in tropical areas, especially in the New World (Miller, 1992). The Thaumetopoeidae (processionary moths) are sometimes included here as a subfamily.

Species of this family tend to be heavy-bodied and long-winged, the wings held folded across the back of the body at rest. They rarely display any bright colours, usually being mainly grey or brown, with the exception of the Dioptinae subfamily (Grimaldi and Engel, 2005). These features mean they rather resemble Noctuidae although the families are not closely related. The adults do not feed. Many species have a tuft of hair on the trailing edge of the forewing which protrudes upwards at rest. This gives them the common name of prominents. The common names of some other species reflect their hairiness, such as Puss Moth and the group commonly known as kittens (Furcula spp.), so named as they resemble small versions of the Puss Moth.

Life cycle[edit]

Egg[edit]

The egg is hemisperical or almost spherical, and lacks any ribs (Scoble, 1995).

Larvae[edit]

The caterpillars are usually hairless, but may have tubercules, spines, or humps (Scoble 1995), and often rest with both ends raised. The last set of prolegs is frequently vestigial, or may be long, with glands that can be everted. Some larvae undergo shape modification and colour changes with each instar (Weller, 1992). Notodontid larvae are notable for their often bizarre shapes, and some have chemical defenses (cyanic acid, formic acid, and other ketones: Blum, 1981) not commonly found in other Lepidoptera (Weller 1992). Schizura unicornis and S. badia have a mixture of formic acid, acetic acid and other compounds which they spray accurately at their attacker (Attygalle et al., 1993).

The larvae of some species are truly extraordinary: That of the Puss Moth has a fearsome-looking "face" and two long whip-like "tails" (actually highly modified prolegs) and it rears both ends in a threatening display when disturbed. The larva of the Lobster Moth is even more remarkable, resembling a crustacean. Others, such as Cerura vinula mimic the edge of a leaf that has been damaged and is turning brown (they rest and feed along the edge of the leaf).

Most are solitary feeders, but some are gregarious, and this is most common in the processionary moths, Thaumetopoeinae.

They feed on trees and shrubs, except in the subfamily Dioptinae, which feed on herbaceous plants (Miller, 1992). The larvae typically feed on only one family of trees, but closely related species will feed on distantly related plants; for example different members of the genus Datana feed on Juglandaceae, Hamamelidaceae, Ericaceae and Anacardiaceae (Miller 1992).

Adults[edit]

Adults have tympanal organs on the metathorax that opens towards the top, and the tibial spurs have serrated edges (Scoble, 1995). Mouthparts vary from well-developed to absent. The Dioptinae, which was formerly considered a separate family, are colourful and fly by day, while the rest of the notodontids are nocturnal. Some of these Dioptinae have non-functional tympanal hearing organs which are normally defensive against bats (Fullard et al., 1997).

Importance[edit]

Some notodontids cause noticeable defoliation of their hosts. Well-known defoliators include: the saddled prominent Heterocampa guttivita, poplar defoliator Clostera cupreata, California oakworm Phryganidia californica, the beech caterpillar, Quadricalcarifera punctatella, variable oakleaf caterpillar Lochmaeus manteo, Epicerura pergisea, yellownecked caterpillars Datana ministra, and walnut caterpillar Datana integerrima, among others.

Systematics[edit]

Notable species are:

Apart from the subfamilies listed above, there are numerous notodontid genera of uncertain relationships. These are:

References[edit]

  • Attygalle, AB, S. Smedley, J. Meinwald and T. Eisner. 1993. Defensive secretion of 2 notodontid caterpillars. J. Chem Ecol 19(10):2089-2104.
  • Blum, M.S. 1981. Chemical Defenses of Arthropods. Academic Press, New York.
  • Chinery, Michael. 1991. Collins Guide to the Insects of Britain and Western Europe 1986 (Reprinted 1991)
  • Fullard, James, Jeff W. Dawson, L. Daniel Otero, Annemarie Surlykke. 1997. Bat-deafness in day-flying moths (Lepidoptera, Notodontidae, Dioptinae). Journal of Comparative Physiology A: Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology 181(5): 477-483
  • Grimaldi, D, and MS Engel, 2005. Evolution of the Insects. Cambridge University Press.
  • Miller, James. 1992. Host-plant association among prominent moths. BioScience 42 (1): 50-56.
  • Scoble, MJ. 1995. The Lepidoptera: Form, Function and Diversity. Second ed. Oxford University Press.
  • Skinner, Bernard. 1984. Colour Identification Guide to Moths of the British Isles
  • Weller, SJ. 1992. Survey of Adult Morphology in Nystaleinae and Related Neotropical Subfamilies (Noctuoidea: Notodontidae). Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera 31(3-4):233-277.
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