Encyclopedia  |   World Factbook  |   World Flags  |   Reference Tables  |   List of Lists     
   Academic Disciplines  |   Historical Timeline  |   Themed Timelines  |   Biographies  |   How-Tos     
Sponsor by The Tattoo Collection
Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index



Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)
Scientific classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Subkingdom: Metazoa
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Hexapoda
Class: Insecta
Subclass: Pterygota
Infraclass: Neoptera
Superorder: Endopterygota
Order: Lepidoptera
About 130 - see text

The Lepidoptera is the second largest order of insects comprising butterflies, skipperss, and moths. Lepidopterans (members of this order) go through a four-stage life cycle of egg–larva/caterpillarpupa/chrysalisimago/adult. Adults have two pairs of membranous wings covered with scales, and mouth parts adapted for sucking.

The order, second only to the Coleoptera (the beetles), comprises more than 160,000 species.

See also metamorphosis (biology) and difference between a butterfly and a moth.

Table of contents
1 Families of Lepidoptera
2 List of currently accepted families
3 List of relegated families

Families of Lepidoptera

There are thought to be about 130 families in this order, but opinions frequently change among lepidoperists as to which these are. The treatment here is that adopted for the Natural History Museum database [1]. Generally, this uses the families included in the series of reviews published as Kristensen (1999), but for the superfamily Gelechoidea, it retains the system of Nye & Fletcher (1991) rather than the contentious treatment of Hodges in Kristensen. Also, the Riodinidae are retained as a family in anticipation of a publication by Lamas et al which will reinstate this as a full family. (In Kristensen they are treated as a subfamily of the Lycaenidae.) The list also shows where other authors in the fairly recent past have treated groups as belonging in other families. The actual number of families listed here is 126.


List of currently accepted families

Family Otherwise included in
Acanthopteroctetidae Davis, 1978  
Acrolepiidae Heinemann, 1870 Plutellidae or Yponomeutidae
Acrolophidae Tineidae
Adelidae Bruand, 1851  
Agathiphagidae Kristensen, 1967  
Agonoxenidae Meyrick, 1926 Elastichidae or Coleophoridae
Aididae Megalopygidae
Alucitidae Leach, 1815  
Arctiidae Leach, 1815  
Axiidae Rebel, 1919 Noctuidae
Batrachedridae Heinemann & Wocke, 1876 Coleophoridae or Mompidae or Cosmopterigidae
Bedelliidae Meyrick, 1880 Lyonetiidae
Blastobasidae Meyrick, 1894 Coleophoridae
Bombycidae Latreille, 1802  
Brachodidae Heppner, 1979 Glyphipterigidae
Brahmaeidae Swinhoe, 1892  
Bucculatricidae Wallengren, 1881  
Carposinidae Walsigham, 1897  
Cecidosidae Incurvariidae
Choreutidae Stainton, 1854 Glyphipterigidae
Coleophoridae Hubner, 1825  
Cosmopterigidae Heinemann & Wocke, 1876  
Cossidae Leach, 1815  
Crambidae Latreille, 1810 Pyralidae
Crinopterygidae Spuler, 1898  
Doidae Arctiidae
Douglasiidae Heinemann & Wocke, 1876  
Drepanidae Boisduval, 1828  
Elachistidae Bruand, 1851  
Endromidae Boisduval, 1828  
Epermeniidae Spuler, 1910  
Epipyropidae Dyar, 1903  
Eriocottidae Spuler, 1898 Incurvariidae
Eriocraniidae Tutt, 1899  
Ethmiidae Busck, 1909 Elachistidae
Galacticidae Plutellidae
Gelechiidae Stainton, 1854  
Geometridae Leach, 1815  
Glyphipterigidae Stainton, 1854  
Gracillariidae Stainton, 1854  
Hedylidae Geometridae
Heliodinidae Heinemann & Wocke, 1876  
Heliozelidae Heineman & Wocke, 1877  
Hepialidae Stephens, 1829  
Hesperiidae Latreille, 1809  
Heterobathmiidae Micropterigidae
Heterogynidae Herrich Schaffer, 1846  
Holcopogonidae Gozmany, 1967 Autostichidae
Immidae Heppner, 1977 Glyphipterigidae
Incurvariidae Spuler, 1898  
Lacturidae Yponomeutidae
Lasiocampidae Harris, 1841  
Lecithoceridae Le Marchand, 1947 Gelechiidae
Lemoniidae Dyar, 1896  
Limacodidae Duponchet, 1845  
Lophocoronidae Common, 1973  
Lycaenidae Leach, 1815  
Lymantriidae Hampson, 1893  
Lyonetiidae Stainton, 1854  
Lypusidae Tineidae or Psychidae or Yponomeutidae
Metachandidae Meyrick, 1911 Oecophoridae or Gelechiidae
Micropterigidae Herrich Schaffer, 1855  
Mirinidae Bombycidae
Momphidae Herrich Schaffer, 1857 Coleophoridae
Neotheoridae Kristensen, 1978.  
Nepticulidae Stainton, 1854  
Noctuidae Latreille, 1809  
Nolidae Hampson, 1894 Noctuidae
Notodontidae Stephens, 1829  
Nymphalidae Swainson, 1827  
Oecophoridae Bruand, 1851  
Oenosandridae Notodontidae (Thaumatopoeidae)
Opostegidae Meyrick, 1893  
Palaephatidae Tineidae
Pantheidae Noctuidae
Papilionidae Latreille, 1802  
Pieridae Duponchel, 1835  
Plutellidae Guenee, 1845 Yponomeutidae
Prodoxidae Riley, 1881  
Psychidae Boisduval, 1828  
Pterolonchidae Meyrick, 1918 Coleophoridae
Pterophoridae Zeller, 1841  
Pyralidae Latreille, 1802  
Riodinidae Lycaenidae
Roeslerstammiidae Bruand, 1850  
Saturniidae Boisduval, 1837  
Schreckensteiniidae Fletcher, 1929  
Scythrididae Rebel, 1901  
Sesiidae Boisduval, 1828  
Simaethistidae Pyralidae
Somabrachyidae Hampson, 1920 Megalopygidae
Sphingidae Latreille, 1802  
Symmocidae Gozmany, 1957 Autostichidae
Thyrididae Herrich Schaffer, 1846  
Tineidae Latreille, 1810  
Tineodidae Meyrick, 1885  
Tischeriidae Spuler, 1898  
Tortricidae Latreille, 1802  
Whalleyanidae Thyrididae
Yponomeutidae Stephens, 1829  
Ypsolophidae Guenee, 1845 Yponomeutidae
Zygaenidae Latreille, 1809  

List of relegated families

The following groups have been ranked as families in the fairly recent past, and the family names are still likely to be met with in books and on the internet. This list shows where the supposed families are now classified.

'Family' Now included in
Agaristidae Noctuidae
Amphisbatidae Oecophoridae
Apatelodidae Bombycidae
Apoprogonidae Sematuridae
Argyresthiidae Yponomeutidae
Autostichidae Oecophoridae
Blastodacnidae Agonoxenidae
Cercophanidae Saturniidae
Chimbachidae Oecophoridae
Chrysopolomidae Limacodidae
Cocytiidae Noctuidae
Ctenuchidae Arctiidae
Cyclidiidae Drepanidae
Cycnodiidae Elachistidae
Danaidae Nymphalidae
Deoclonidae Gelechiidae
Depressariidae Oecophoridae
'Family' Now included in
Deuterotineidae Eriocottidae
Dilobidae Noctuidae
Dioptidae Notodontidae
Epiplemidae Uraniidae
Glyphidoceridae Symmocidae
Heliconiidae Nymphalidae
Hypertrophidae Oecophoridae
Lathrotelidae Crambidae
Libytheidae Nymphalidae
Manidiidae Sematuridae
Megathymidae Hesperiidae
Metarbelidae Cossidae
Oinophilidae Tineidae
Olethreutidae Tortricidae
Oxytenidae Saturniidae
Parnassiidae Papilionidae
Peleopodidae Oecophoridae
'Family' Now included in
Pericopidae Arctiidae
Phaloniidae Tortricidae
Phyllocnistidae Gracillariidae
Pseudarbelidae Psychidae
Pterothysanidae Callidulidae
Pyromorphidae Zygaenidae
Ratardidae Cossidae
Satyridae Nymphalidae
Schistonoeidae Gelechiidae
Stathmopodidae Oecophoridae
Stenomidae Oecophoridae
Strepsimanidae Noctuidae
Thaumetopoeidae Notodontidae
Thyatiridae Drepanidae
Thyretidae Arctiidae
Walshiidae Cosmopterigidae
Xyloryctidae Oecophoridae