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...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Barlow HS (1982) An introduction to the moths of South East Asia. Malayan Naturalist Society, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 305 pp, 50 plGoogle Scholar
  2. Common IFB (1990) Moths of Australia. Melbourne University Press, Carlton, Australia, 535 pp, 32 plGoogle Scholar
  3. Covell CV Jr, (1984) A field guide to the moths of eastern North America. Houghton Mifflin, Boston, MA, 496 pp, 64 plGoogle Scholar
  4. Dominick RB, Hodges RW, Dominick T, Edwards CR, Hodges ER (eds) (1971) – The moths of America north of Mexico, including Greenland. Wedge Entomological Foundation, Washington, DC, 27 fascGoogle Scholar
  5. Hering EM (1951) Biology of the leaf miners. W. Junk, The Hague, The Netherlands, 420 pp, 2 plGoogle Scholar
  6. Holloway JD, Kibby G, Peggie D (2001) The families of Malesian moths and butterflies. E. J. Brill, Leiden, The Netherlands, 455 pp, 8 plGoogle Scholar
  7. Inoue H, Sugi S, Kuroko H, Moriuti S, Kawabe A (1982) Moths of Japan. Kodansha, Tokyo, Japan, 2 vol, 392 plGoogle Scholar
  8. Krenek V (2000) Small moths of Europe. Cesky Tesín, Czech Rep, 174 ppGoogle Scholar
  9. Pinhey EGC (1975) Moths of Southern Africa. Tafelberg, Capetown, South Africa, 273 pp, 63 plGoogle Scholar
  10. Robinson GS, Tuck KR, Shaffer M (1994) A field guide to the smaller moths of south-east Asia. Malaysian Naturalist Society, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 309 pp, 32 plGoogle Scholar
  11. Watson A, Whalley PES (1975) The dictionary of butterflies and moths in color. McGraw Hill, New York, NY, 296 pp, 144 plGoogle Scholar
  12. Young M (1997) The natural history of moths. T. & A.D. Poyser, London, United Kingdom, 271 pp, 16 plGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

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