Encyclopedia of Entomology

2008 Edition
| Editors: John L. Capinera

Gossamer-Winged Butterflies (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae)

  • John B. Heppner
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-6359-6_1140
Gossamer-winged butterflies, family Lycaenidae (including blues, coppers, elfins, hairstreaks, and harvesters), total about 5,955 species worldwide; the actual fauna probably exceeds 7,000 species. About 1,125 species are Neotropical. The family is in the superfamily Papilionoidea (series Papilioniformes), in the section Cossina, subsection Bombycina, of the division Ditrysia. Most of the relictual groups are Southeast Asian and African, such as the subfamilies Lipteninae, Poritiinae, Liphyrinae, Miletinae, and Curetinae. The family has eight subfamilies: those just noted, plus Lycaeninae, Theclinae, and Polyommatinae. North temperate species are only found in the latter three subfamilies. Some specialists include Riodinidae as another lycaenid subfamily, and also reduce the subfamily number to five (including the Riodininae), thus the classification is still in flux. Adults small to medium size (6 to 92 mm wingspan) (most average 20 to 39 mm), with body usually slender (rarely...
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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 ArthropodsGainesvilleFL, USA