What Bug Is That? The guide to Australian insect families.

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Epipyropidae

Overview

Endemic to Australia, the stout-bodied, moths may be recognised by the condition of the A veins in both wings. Most are grey, some with distinct dark spots on the fore wing; a few are yellowish white and at least one species is yellow and black. The adults come to light. As in Epipyropidae, the females lay a large number of eggs. The remarkable life history of Cyclotorna monocentra was described by Dodd (1912). The eggs are laid on the twigs and bark of a tree already infested with Eurymelidae, which are usually attended by ants. The flat, 1st instar larva is an external parasite of a leafhopper. It later spins an oval, flat shelter beneath bark, in which it moults to a brightly coloured, flattened larva with retractile head and body segments laterally expanded and pointed. This is carried by an ant to its nest, where the moth larva feeds upon the ant larvae, yielding an anal secretion eagerly devoured by the ants. At maturity, the larva spins its cocoon beneath loose bark on a nearby tree. In the smaller C . egena , lacking CuA 1 in the hind wing, the first-stage larvae parasitise Psyllidae. In some species early ecdyses occur in silk shelters spun on the body of the leafhopper host.

Description

Very small; head with appressed lamellar scales; antennae short, bipectinate to apex in both sexes; ocelli, chaetosemata, proboscis and maxillary palps absent; labial palps minute, drooping; epiphysis and tibial spurs absent; wings broad; fore wing without retinaculum, all veins arising separately from discal cell, M present or vestigial in cell, chorda present, CuP present near margin; hind wing with 1 frenular bristle in both sexes, Sc + R 1 well separate from Rs, R 1 sometimes present, CuP and 1 or 2 anal veins present. Eggs disc-like or ovate. Larva heteromorphic; 'sub-campodeiform' at first, with large head and thorax; later strongly convex, covered with white waxy secretion, crochets uniordinal in a circle, antennae long, ocelli closely grouped, mandibles long, pointed, minutely dentate apically; in Australia ectoparasitic upon planthoppers (Fulgoroidea, HEMI). Pupa in white, oval or rosette-shaped cocoon with horizontal 'frog-mouth' slit through which pupa protrudes.

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