Grass Miner Moths (Lepidoptera: Elachistidae)
Reference work entry
Grass miner moths, family Elachistidae, comprise about 723 species worldwide, but most are Palearctic (472 sp.), and many are in the genus Elachista. Two subfamilies are used, or only tribes: Perittiinae and Elachistinae. The family is part of the super family Gelechioidea in the section Tineina, subsection Tineina, of the division Ditrysia. Adults small (5–23 mm wingspan), with head smooth-scaled; haustellum scaled; labial palpi upcurved but sometimes porrect; maxillary palpi minute, 1 to 2-segmented. Wings narrow and lanceolate, with reduced venation, but with large hindwing fringes (Fig. 49). Maculation often white with various markings or bands, or darker, sometimes with iridescence. Adults are often crespuscular or nocturnal, but some are diurnal. Larvae are leafminers (sometimes gregarious) or stem miners, especially on grasses (Gramineae) and related plant groups like Juncaceae and Cyperaceae, but other plant families are also utilized.
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