Encyclopedia of Entomology

2008 Edition
| Editors: John L. Capinera

Ghost Moths (Lepidoptera: Hepialidae)

  • John B. Heppner
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-6359-6_1086
Ghost moths (sometimes also called swifts), family Hepialidae, comprise about 496 species and occur in all faunal regions, although most species are in the ancient refugia regions of Australia, South Africa and Chile. The family is the main component of the superfamily Hepialoidea, in the infraorder Exoporia. Adults small to very large (20–250 mm wingspan), with head roughened; haustellum absent or vestigial and no mandibles are evident; labial palpi small and 2- or 3-segmented; maxillary palpi are minute and 1 to 5-segmented; antennae are very short. Maculation is usually dull with light (Fig. 18) spotting, but can include some green or gold iridescent markings or other light spots or bands. The hindwings tend to be large and overall the adults have large bodies. Adults are typically crepuscular or nocturnal, but a few are diurnally active. Larvae feed as borers on roots, trunks or under bark of trees, various bushes, or grasses, or even leaf litter. A few species are considered...
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • John B. Heppner
    • 1
  1. 1.Florida State Collection of ArthropodsGainesvilleUSA