Encyclopedia of Entomology

2008 Edition
| Editors: John L. Capinera

Moths (Lepidoptera: Heterocera)

  • John B. Heppner
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-6359-6_4705

Among the insect order Lepidoptera, moths comprise most of the order worldwide, totaling about 135,700 described species, representing 91% of all lepidopterans (the other 9% are butterflies). There are an estimated additional 100,000 species of moths waiting to be discovered and named, mostly from tropical regions of the world. Although the name Heterocera is not used in modern classification of Lepidoptera, the name can be used to refer to all the moths (Rhopalocera is used as the name for all butterflies). The moth divisions, Macrolepidoptera and Microlepidoptera, likewise have no scientific basis but commonly are used as a convenience in grouping the mostly larger macro-moths versus the mostly more primitive and smaller micro-moths (extraordinary exceptions in size are known for each group).

Of the 125 known families of Lepidoptera, moths comprise 118 families, all but the seven families which involve the butterflies. Some classifications are slightly different, since some...

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References

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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