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Moths of Western North America

Moths of Western North America

Copyright Date: 2009
Edition: 1
Pages: 383
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  • Book Info
    Moths of Western North America
    Book Description:

    Insects boast incredible diversity, and this book treats an important component of the western insect biota that has not been summarized before—moths and their plant relationships. There are about 8,000 named species of moths in our region, and although most are unnoticed by the public, many attract attention when their larvae create economic damage: eating holes in woolens, infesting stored foods, boring into apples, damaging crops and garden plants, or defoliating forests. In contrast to previous North American moth books, this volume discusses and illustrates about 25% of the species in every family, including the tiny species, making this the most comprehensive volume in its field. With this approach it provides access to microlepidoptera study for biologists as well as amateur collectors. About 2,500 species are described and illustrated, including virtually all moths of economic importance, summarizing their morphology, taxonomy, adult behavior, larval biology, and life cycles.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-94377-3
    Subjects: Zoology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  6. PART ONE Introduction to Lepidoptera and Moths

    • Morphology
      (pp. 3-12)

      The adult body framework (Fig. 2) consists of a hardened (sclerotized) exoskeleton made up of a head capsule with appendages; three fused thoracic segments, each with legs and two pairs of wings, on the middle (mesothoracic) and third (metathoracic) segments; and the abdomen, which has 10 segments and is less sclerotized than the thorax and movable by intersegmental membranes. Complex genital structures of external origin arise from abdominal segments 8 to 10, and often there are accessory structures (pouches, glands, hair brushes, etc.) associated with sound reception, courtship, or other functions.

      The head (Figs. 2, 3) is more or less...

    • Biology
      (pp. 13-16)

      Success of Lepidoptera populations is dependent upon several factors in the climatic and biotic environment, interrelated with the insects’ behavior. First, larval foods, and for most species adult nourishment, must be available. Climatic conditions suitable for mating and oviposition, larval feeding, and pupation are necessary. Females must find appropriate places for deposition of eggs. Larvae must sense proper foods, eat, molt, grow, and pupate. Pupae need to avoid desiccation and other factors that might prevent successful adult eclosion. Finally, egg, larval, and pupal parasites and predators have to combine on average to take all but two of the offspring of...

    • Significance in Natural and Human Communities
      (pp. 17-18)

      Larvae of plant-feeding insects play a critical role in the biosphere by converting complex chemical energy in plants to digestible food for other members of the food chain, and their biomass far exceeds that of vertebrate herbivores. Hence the major role of Lepidoptera in natural communities is primary consumer of plants. Moths and butterflies make up the largest single evolutionary lineage adapted to depend upon living plants, in terms of species numbers and in many communities in biomass as well. Females of most species produce 200 to 600 eggs within a few days, vastly more in some species (1,000 to...

    • Fossil Record and Evolution
      (pp. 19-22)

      A widely accepted phylogenetic hypothesis of relationships among lepidopteran evolutionary lineages, based on morphological characteristics in living forms, primarily of the adults, is shown in Figure 25. The problem in such analysis is that we do not know what kinds of species might have preceded and interceded with the primitive extant lineages, each of which is now represented by one or a few relicts that have divergent larval features not shared with other Lepidoptera. Moreover, the fossil record is of little use in revealing clues to “missing links,” and the paleontological preservation usually fails to provide information on critical characteristics,...

    • A History of Moth Collectors in Western North America
      (pp. 23-30)

      As would be expected, collecting insects in North America lagged behind such activities in Europe, and in the West behind the eastern United States. Early in the nineteenth century the conspicuous species were collected and exported to be named by European workers. In North America, resident entomologists such as Fitch and Harris began publishing descriptions of insects in connection with agricultural concerns by the 1840s, and even the microlepidoptera specialists Clemens and Chambers were describing species in the 1860s.

      THOMAS SAY visited the Rocky Mountains with the C. H. Long Expedition in 1819–1820 and later described many insects from...

  7. PART TWO Classification and Natural History of the Moths of Western North America

    • Primitive Lineages
      (pp. 33-46)

      These are the most primitive extant lepidopterans—they are living fossils. There are micropterigids recognizable as modern genera preserved in amber dating back to dinosaur times in the early Cretaceous period, 125 MyBP.

      AdultAdults are small (FW length 3–6 mm), often colorful, with metallic sheens of bronze or purple and yellow FW markings, usually active in the daytime (Plate 59.1). They are characterized by numerous ancestral traits not shared by other moths, most notably retention of functional mandibles, which are used to feed on pollen of various trees in Europe, and more primitive plants, sedges, Winteraceae, and fern...

    • Ditrysia, Nonapoditrysian Superfamilies
      (pp. 47-114)

      The vast majority of living Lepidoptera make up the Ditrysia, a derived lineage that includes 98% or more of the described species, most of the superfamilies and families, almost all of the external plant-feeding caterpillars, and most of the special adaptations for prey avoidance. All possess reproductive systems based on separate female copulatory and oviposition orifices and internal ducts for transfer of the sperm.

      The tineoids are generally recognized as the most ancestral living group of the Ditrysia. Most tineoids have erect, roughened head scaling and elongate, five-segmented maxillary palpi that are folded, usually longer than the labial palpi, while...

      (pp. None)
    • Apoditrysia
      (pp. 115-200)

      All of the more-derived Lepidoptera are grouped in the lineage Apoditrysia by their shared possession of shortened apodemes on the second abdominal sternum with enlarged bases, contrasted with the more ancestral state, continuations of longitudinal costae (venulae) of the sternal plate. Several superfamilies, the nonobtectomeran Apoditrysia, retain the ancestral movable and spined abdominal segments in the pupa, which moves forward to protrude from the shelter, enabling emergence of the moth. The more-derived superfamilies of the Apoditrysia, the Obtectomera (the Copromorphoidea, Thyridoidea, Pyraloidea, macromoths, butterflies), have obtect, nonmotile pupae.

      Among the nonobtectomeran ditrysians, the Sesioidea, Choreutoidea, Cossoidea, Tortricoidea, and Pterophoroidea are...

    • Macrolepidoptera
      (pp. 201-320)

      Larvae of the two western families have at least some of their abdominal prolegs either vestigial or absent. In this superfamily, adults of most species have broad wings accompanied by slender bodies; furthermore, they lack scales on their proboscises. Their abdominal tympana are sufficiently different from those of other Lepidoptera that they may have separately evolved. There are about 700 species worldwide with by far the greatest species richness found in the Oriental region. About 20 species are reported for North America with most in the Drepanidae. The included family Epicopeiidae is a small Asian group of mostly brightly colored...

  8. Suggestions for Collecting and Observing Moths
    (pp. 321-328)

    We strongly urge any lepidopterist, beginner to professional, to obtain a copy of the inexpensive book,Basic Techniques for Observing and Studying Moths and Butterflies, by William D. Winter, Jr. (2000, edited by W. E. Miller and published by The Lepidopterists’ Society). This volume summarizes a great deal of experience by numerous contributors and serves as the standard reference for answering questions on any aspect of Lepidoptera techniques. It includes a reprint of Landry and Landry’s fine paper that details techniques for handling microlepidoptera. Here we briefly outline materials and methods, with reference to those aspects we have found to...

    (pp. 329-332)
    (pp. 333-356)
    (pp. 357-366)
    (pp. 367-369)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 370-370)