What makes a tortrix a tortrix, a pyrale a pyrale etc (1 Viewer)

smokenack

Well-known member
I can normally recognise a tortrix easily enough and then try to work out the species. Same with the Pyralidea, Crambidae, Gracillaridae etc. Sometimes however I can't, and it's these moths that I normally have to ask for assistance with or just give up on. I just don't have the time to look through my books from cover to cover or trawl through every image on UKMoths. Yesterday I had a moth that I initially thought was a Pyrale, then maybe a Gelechid and it was identified for me by DavidG as a tortrix!

So are there features recognisable from a photo from which you can say 'That's a Gelechid' or 'That's a Tortrix' etc. or are these features only really discernible under a microscope?

Thanks

Nick
 

honeym

Well-known member
Not really but, with experience, you can get a good idea from the 'jizz'. If you have Sterling & Parsons (& Lewington) have a look at the introductory chapters and try to work a few through the key. If you have some spare time during the winter months, have a look at Martin Corley's Guide to Micro Families, which you can download from: http://www.angleps.com/guides.php
Over time there are little hints that you pick up, such as pyrals 'tend' to rest with their antennae folded back (and often crossed) over their back, rather than held forward (Ypsolophidae, Plutellidae, Coleophoridae). resting posture can often help, e.g head-up (Caloptilia, etc.), or head-down (Argyresthia, etc.).
I hope this helps.
Martin
 

honeym

Well-known member
Why is something as big as Mother of Pearl a micro?
Andy
Hi Andy
A good question. It's actually an unfortunate misnomer as it has nothing to do with size. It's more of an evolutionary thing with the micros containing more of the primitive groups. In the main it works - but there are also exceptions, e.g. the pyralids, which some people refer to as "mesolepidoptera".
Martin
 

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