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Global Taxonomic Database of Tineidae (Lepidoptera)

By Gaden S. Robinson

Coryptilium klugii

Email comments, corrections and additions to: Gaden Robinson

Programming by Dr Mike Lowndes.
Data entry by Gaden Robinson, Max Friedman and Ben Faulkner.

The Tineidae - the clothes-moth family - comprises almost 3000 named species of medium-sized to small moths. This database gives the current applicable name for each of these species, and information as to where, when and by whom each was described, and where the original specimen(s) (type specimens(s)) came from.

How the database works

Searching for part or all of a species or genus name will return a list of all possibilities. Click on a species name to return the full record and records of all synonyms. The database contains almost 3000 species-group names and is intended to be comprehensive. Several taxa until recently associated with Tineidae and now placed in other families are included with their correct placement.

Interpreting the output

The full record contains the original generic combination of the name, author, date, and reference to original description.

Type localities, determined from data-labels or original descriptions, are given using present-day political boundaries. Thus 'India: Peshawar' on a pre-1948 data-label would be rendered here as 'Pakistan'. Vague or ambiguous localities are given verbatim (eg,'East Indies'). The former Soviet Union is listed for some taxa as 'fUSSR'.

The region of occurrence (based on type locality only) is abbreviated thus: Af = Afrotropical; Au = Australasia; Hw = Hawaii; Na = Nearctic; Nt = Neotropical; Nz = New Zealand; Or = Oriental; Pl = Palaearctic.

The current applicable name for the species and its subfamily placement are given.

Species are allocated to genera 'sensu lato' ('s.l.') when this is their current placement but they are not congeneric with the type-species of that genus and no better combination is currently available.

Mis-spellings are indicated as such; widespread misidentifications are indicated by 'auctt.'. Species-group names are cited using the original spelling.

We should be grateful if the use of this database were acknowledged in publications.

What are Tineidae?

Clothes-moths are the most familiar examples of the moth family Tineidae, the basalmost lineage of the ditrysian Lepidoptera. The Tineidae differ from all other families of Lepidoptera in their unorthodox larval biology, for perhaps no more than a dozen species feed on living green plants. Instead of occupying the typical ditrysian leaf-feeding role, most tineid larvae feed on plant or animal detritus, lichen or fungi.

Adults of most species of Tineidae are characterized by the head vestiture consisting of erect hair-like scales, and by the labial palpi bearing stiff lateral bristles; the terminal segment of the labial palpus is laterally compressed. The proboscis is very short or even absent, never strongly sclerotized, and never has scales at its base; its two halves (galeae) are only loosely associated. Most Tineidae rest with the wings raised tent-like over the body, and the body parallel with the substrate. Adult tineids have a characteristic scuttling run. See Robinson & Nielsen (1993) for a detailed definition and description of the group.

Why a taxonomic database?

Robinson & Nielsen (1993) stressed the need for 'the harmonization of generic concepts to make them applicable across all zoogeographical regions' and lamented the growth of 'disparate taxonomies'. This database was developed in order to integrate the major regional checklists and a large and scattered literature and provide a single, comprehensive global catalogue of tineid moths.

Methodology and conventions

The methodology and protocols for development of checklists and catalogues has been described with incomparable clarity by Nielsen, Edwards & Rangsi (1996) and their precepts have been adhered to here. Further detail, applicable specifically to current work on Tineidae, is given by Robinson & Nielsen (1993) and Robinson & Tuck (1996).

Bibliography and key references

Robinson & Nielsen (1993) have reviewed the morphology and biology of Tineidae in detail; a synoptic higher classification and review is given by Davis & Robinson (1999); the former work provides a comprehensive bibliography which is supplemented by references in Robinson & Tuck (1996; 1997). A bibliography of selected works on Tineidae with the emphasis on regional checklists is given below. See Zoological Record (1955 to date) for additional papers by D.R. Davis, R. Gaedike, G. Petersen, G.S. Robinson and A.K. Zagulajev.

Clarke, J.F.G., 1955. Catalogue of the type specimens of Microlepidoptera in the British Museum (Natural History) described by Edward Meyrick. 1. 332 pp., London.

Clarke, J.F.G., 1971. The Lepidoptera of Rapa Island. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology, 56: i-iv. 1-282.

Clarke, J.F.G., 1986. Pyralidae and Microlepidoptera of the Marquesas Archipelago. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology, 416: 1-485.

Davis, D.R., 1983. Tineidae. Pp. 5-7. In: Hodges, R.W., et al., Check List of the Lepidoptera of America North of Mexico. 284 pp., Farringdon, Washington.

Davis, D.R., 1984. Tineidae. Pp. 19-24. In: Heppner, J.B. (ed.) Atlas of Neotropical Lepidoptera. Checklist: part 1. Micropterigoidea - Immoidea. xiv + 112 pp., Junk, The Hague.

Davis, D.R. 1998. A world classification of the Harmacloninae, a new subfamily of Tineidae (Lepidoptera: Tineoidea). Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology, 597: 1-81.

Davis, D.R. & Robinson, G.S. 1999. The Tineoidea and Gracillarioidea. Pp. 91-117. In: Kristensen, N.P. (ed.) Lepidoptera, Moths and Butterflies. 1. Evolution, systematics and biogeography. Handbook of Zoology, 4(35). Lepidoptera. x + 491 pp. de Gruyter, Berlin.

Diakonoff, A., 1955. Microlepidoptera of New Guinea. Part 5. Verhandelingen der Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen, afd. Natuurkunde, 50(3): 1-210.

Diakonoff, A., [1968]. Microlepidoptera of the Philippine Islands. Bulletin of the US National Museum, 257: 1-484.

Dugdale, J.S., 1988. Lepidoptera - annotated catalogue and keys of family-group taxa. Fauna of New Zealand, 14: 1-262.

Fletcher, T.B., [1921]. Life histories of Indian Insects. Microlepidoptera. VIII. Tineidae and Nepticulidae. Memoirs of the Department of Agriculture of India, 6: 181-196.

Fletcher, T.B., 1933. Life histories of Indian Microlepidoptera (Second Series). Cosmopterygidae to Neopseustidae. Scientific Monograph, Imperial Council of Agricultural Research, India, 4: 1-85.

Gaedike, R. 1983. Zur Kenntnis der paläarktischen Tineiden Die Gattung Infurcitinea Spuler, 1910 (Lepidoptera). Entomologische Abhandlungen, Staatliches Museum für Tierkunde, Dresden, 46: 121-150.

Gaedike, R. 1985. Beitrag zur Kenntnis der paläarktischen Tineiden: Gattung Obesoceras Petersen, 1957 (Lepidoptera). Entomologische Abhandlungen, Staatliches Museum für Tierkunde, Dresden, 48: 167-181.

Gozmány, L.A. and Vári, L., 1973. The Tineidae of the Ethiopian Region. Transvaal Museum Memoir, 18: i-vi, 1-238, figs 1-570.

Hinton, H.E. 1956. The larvae of the species of Tineidae of economic importance. Bulletin of Entomological Research, 47: 251-346.

Leraut, P., 1985. Mise a jour de la liste des Tineides de la faune de France. Entomologica Gallica, 1(4): 319-325.

Moriuti, S. 1982. Tineidae. In: Inoue, H. et al., Moths of Japan. Pp 1-966; 1-552 (2 vols), Kodansha, Tokyo.

Nielsen, E.S., Edwards, E.D. & Rangsi, T.V. (eds). 1996. Checklist of the Lepidoptera of Australia. Monographs on Australian Lepidoptera, 4. xiv + 529 pp, CSIRO, Melbourne.

Petersen, G. 1957-8. Die Genitalien der paläarktischen Tineiden. Beiträge zur Entomologie, 7: 55-176, 338-380, 557-595; 8: 111-118, 398-430.

Petersen, G. 1983. Revision der Gattung Triaxomera Zagulajev mit Bemerkungen zur Phylogenie der Nemapogoninae (Lepidoptera, Tineidae). Entomologische Abhandlungen, Staatliches Museum für Tierkunde, Dresden, 46: 177-196.

Petersen, G. 1987. Revision der Gattung Rhodobates Ragonot (Lepidoptera, Tineidae, Hapsiferinae). Entomologische Abhandlungen, Staatliches Museum für Tierkunde, Dresden, 50: 167-190.

Petersen, G. 1988. Revision der Perissomasticini (Lepidoptera: Tineidae). Beiträge zur Entomologie, 38: 3-64.

Petersen, G. 1988. Revision der Gattung Ateliotum Zeller, 1839 (Lepidoptera: Tineidae). Beiträge zur Entomologie, 38: 311-324.

Petersen, G. & Gaedike, R. 1996. Revision der Gattung Neurothaumasia Le Marchand, 1934 (Insecta: Lepidoptera: Tineidae). Entomologische Abhandlungen, Staatliches Museum für Tierkunde, Dresden, 57: 283-294.

Robinson, G.S. 1976. A taxonomic revision of the Tinissinae of the world (Lepidoptera: Tineidae). Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History), (Entomology), 32: 253-300.

Robinson, G.S. 1979. Clothes-moths of the Tinea pellionella complex: a revision of the world's species (Lepidoptera: Tineidae). Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History) (Entomology), 38: 57-128, figs 1-103.

Robinson, G.S. 1980a. The Himalayan Nemapogoninae, with a note on the female of Nemapogon levantinus Petersen. Entomologist's Gazette, 31: 129-142.

Robinson, G.S. 1980b. Cave-dwelling tineid moths: a taxonomic review of the world species (Lepidoptera: Tineidae). Transactions of the British Cave Research Association, 7: 83-120.

Robinson, G.S. 1981. Remarks on the classification of the fungivorous Tineidae with special reference to the Tinissinae (Lepidoptera). Entomologica Scandinavica, 12: 363-380.

Robinson, G.S. 1986. Fungus moths: a review of the Scardiinae (Lepidoptera: Tineidae). Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History) (Entomology), 52: 37-181, figs 1-200.

Robinson, G.S. 1988. A phylogeny for the Tineoidea (Lepidoptera). Entomologica Scandinavica, 19: 117-129.

Robinson, G.S. and Nielsen, E.S. 1993. Tineid Genera of Australia (Lepidoptera). Monographs on Australian Lepidoptera, 2: i-xvi, 1-344, figs 1-733.

Robinson, G.S. & Nielsen, E.S. 1996. 15. Tineidae. Pp. 37-42. In: Nielsen, E.S., Edwards, E.D. & Rangsi, T.V. (eds) Checklist of the Lepidoptera of Australia. Monographs on Australian Lepidoptera, 4. xiv + 529 pp, CSIRO, Melbourne.

Robinson, G.S. & Tuck, K.R. 1996. A revisionary checklist of the Tineidae (Lepidoptera) of the Oriental Region. Occasional Papers on Systematic Entomology, 9: 1-29.

Robinson, G.S. & Tuck, K.R. 1997. Phylogeny and composition of the Hieroxestinae (Lepidoptera: Tineidae). Systematic Entomology, 22: 363-396.

Robinson, G.S., Tuck, K.R. & Shaffer, M. 1994. A field guide to the smaller moths of South-East Asia. 309 pp., Malaysian Nature Society, Kuala Lumpur.

Viette, P.E.L. 1990. A provisional check-list of the Lepidoptera Heterocera of Madagascar. Faune de Madagascar, Supplement, 1: 1-263.

Zagulajev, A.K. 1960. Tineidae; part 3 - subfamily Tineinae. [In Russian.] Fauna SSSR, 78: 1-267, 231 figs, 3 pls. [Translation, 1975, New Delhi.]

Zagulajev, A.K. 1964. Tineidae; part 2 - subfamily Nemapogoninae. [In Russian.] Fauna SSSR, 86: 1-424, 385 figs, 1 pl. [Translation, 1968, Jerusalem.]

Zagulajev, A.K. 1973. Tineidae; part 4 - subfamily Scardiinae. [In Russian.] Fauna SSSR, 104: 1-126, 99 figs, 2 pls.

Zagulajev, A.K. 1975. Tineidae; part 5 - subfamily Myrmecozelinae. [In Russian.] Fauna SSSR, 108: 1-426, 319 figs, 8 pls. [Translation, 1988, New Delhi.]

Zagulajev, A.K. 1979. Tineidae; part 6 - subfamily Meessiinae. [In Russian.] Fauna SSSR, 119: 1-409.

Zimmerman, E.C. 1978. Microlepidoptera. Insects of Hawaii, 9: i-xviii, 1-1903 [2 vols].


This page last updated: 5 March 2002 by Gaden S. Robinson