(Redirected from Acanthoctesia)

Acanthoctesia or "archaic sun moths" is an infraorder of insects in the lepidopteran order, containing a single superfamily, Acanthopteroctetoidea, and a single family, Acanthopteroctetidae. They are currently considered the fifth group up on the comb of branching events in the extant lepidopteran phylogeny (Kristensen and Skalski, 1999: 10). They also represent the most basal lineage in the lepidopteran group Coelolepida (Wiegmann et al., 2002) (along with Lophocoronoidea and the massive group "Myoglossata") characterised in part by its scale morphology (Kristensen, 1999: 53-54). Moths in this superfamily are usually small (but one is 15 mm. in wingspan) and iridescent. Like other "homoneurous" Coelolepida and non-ditrysian Heteroneura, the ocelli are lost. There are variety of unique structural characteristics (see Kristensen, 1999: 53-54 for an overview). There are two described genera of these primitive moths. Catapterix was originally described within its own family (Sinev, 1988) but Acanthopteroctetes shares with it a number of specialised structural features including similar wing morphology (in A. unifascia) (Nielsen and Kristensen, 1996: 1255).

Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Clade: Coelolepida
Infraorder: Acanthoctesia
Minet, 2002
Superfamily: Acanthopteroctetoidea
Davis, 1978
Family: Acanthopteroctetidae
Davis, 1978
Genera and Species

Acanthopteroctetes Braun, 1921

Catapterix Zagulajev & Sinev, 1988

6 species in 2 genera


Four species of Acanthoctesia in the genus Acanthopteroctetes are very localised in Western North America (Davis, 1978). Another genus, Catapterix represented by a single species comes from single sites at "Mount Karadag" and "Krasnolesie"[1] in the Crimean Peninsula of the Ukraine (Zagulajev and Sinev, 1988). A third taxon, undescribed, is known from the Andes in Peru (Kristensen, 1999: 54).


Acanthopteroctetes are leaf-miners on the shrub genus Ceanothus (Rhamnaceae) (Kristensen, 1999: 53-54). The mine is a blotch on the leaf, overwintering as a larva, with the pupa in a cocoon on the ground (Kristensen, 1999). The adult moths, diurnal, emerge in the spring. The biology of Catapterix is however unknown.


These primitive moths must be considered high conservation priorities on the grounds that the genera are both evolutionarily highly distinctive and have very narrow ranges (Nielsen and Kristensen, 1996). Catapterix crimaea, apparently unreported more or less since its description (Zagulajev and Sinev, 1988; Zagulajev, 1992) on this basis must be one of the top priorities in Europe for conservation surveys or monitoring.


  • Davis, D. R. (1978). A revision of the North American moths of the superfamily Eriocranioidea with the proposal of a new family, Acanthopteroctetidae (Lepidoptera). Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology, 251: 1-131.
  • Kristensen, N.P. (1999). The homoneurous Glossata. Ch. 5, pp. 51–64 in Kristensen, N.P. (Ed.). Lepidoptera, Moths and Butterflies. Volume 1: Evolution, Systematics, and Biogeography. Handbuch der Zoologie. Eine Naturgeschichte der Stämme des Tierreiches / Handbook of Zoology. A Natural History of the phyla of the Animal Kingdom. Band / Volume IV Arthropoda: Insecta Teilband / Part 35: 491 pp. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin, New York.
  • Nielsen, E. S. and Kristensen, N. P. (1996). The Australian moth family Lophocoronidae and the basal phylogeny of the Lepidoptera Glossata. Invertebrate Taxonomy, 10: 1199-1302.Abstract
  • Kristensen, N. P. and Skalski, A.W. (1999). Phylogeny and paleontology. Pages 7–25 in: Lepidoptera: Moths and Butterflies. 1. Evolution, Systematics, and Biogeography. Handbook of Zoology Vol. IV, Part 35. N. P. Kristensen, ed. De Gruyter, Berlin and New York.
  • Minet, J. (2002). Proposal of an infraordinal name for the Acanthopteroctetidae (Lepidoptera). Bulletin de la Société entomologique de France, 107 (3) 222. [Infraorder Acanthoctesia].
  • Sinev, S.Y. (1988). Systematic position of the Catapterigidae (Lepidoptera) and the problem of the naturalness of the group Heteroneura. Entomologicheskoe Obozrenie, 67: 602-614. In Russian [see Entomological Review (1990) 69: 1-14 for a translation].
  • Wiegmann, B.M., Regier, J.C. and Mitter, C. (2002). Combined molecular and morphological evidence on the phylogeny of the earliest lepidopteran lineages. Zoologica Scripta, 31 (1): 67-81. doi:10.1046/j.0300-3256.2001.00091.x
  • Zagulajev, A.K.; Sinev S.Y. (1988). Catapterigidae fam. n. - a new family of lower Lepidoptera (Lepidoptera, Dacnonypha). Entomologicheskoe Obozrenie, 68: 35-43. In Russian [see Entomological Review (1989) 68: 35-43 for a translation].
  • Zagulajev, A.K. (1992). New and little known Microlepidoptera (Lepidoptera: Incurvariidae, Tineidae, Psychidae, Alucitidae) of the fauna of the USSR. Entomologicheskoe Obozrenie, 71: 105-120. [In Russian].

Further readingEdit

  • Firefly Encyclopedia of Insects and Spiders, edited by Christopher O'Toole, ISBN 1-55297-612-2, 2002

External linksEdit