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Catocala nupta topside view HBP 2011-08-19.jpg
Red underwing ( Catocala nupta )
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Superfamily: Noctuoidea
Family: Erebidae
Subfamily: Erebinae
Leach, [1815]

The Erebinae are a subfamily of moths in the family Erebidae erected by William Elford Leach in 1815. Erebine moths are found on all continents except Antarctica, but reach their greatest diversity in the tropics. [1] While the exact number of species belonging to the Erebinae is not known, the subfamily is estimated to include around 10,000 species. [2] Some well-known Erebinae include underwing moths ( Catocala ) and witch moths (Thermesiini). Many of the species in the subfamily have medium to large wingspans (7 to 10 cm, 3 to 4 inches), up to nearly 30 cm in the white witch moth ( Thysania agrippina ), which has the widest wingspan of all Lepidoptera. [3] Erebine caterpillars feed on a broad range of plants; many species feed on grasses and legumes, and a few are pests of castor bean, [4] sugarcane, rice, [5] as well as pistachios [6] and blackberries. [7]



Erebine moths possess a number of adaptations for predator defense. Most Erebinae, such as Zale have mottled, drably colored hindwings to better blend in with grass and tree trunks. In some Erebinae, such as Catocala , cryptically colored forewings conceal brightly colored hindwings which are suddenly revealed when the moth is disturbed from rest. [8] The sudden exposure of these bright colors is thought to startle vertebrate predators, giving the moths extra time to escape. [9] Like other Noctuoidea, erebine moths can detect the calls of echolocating bats or other approaching predators using hearing organs (tympana), which are among the most sensitive in the superfamily. [10] [11]


Prior to recent phylogenetic studies on the superfamily Noctuoidea, most Erebinae were classified within the noctuid subfamily Catocalinae, on the basis of a classification proposed by George Hampson at the start of the 20th century. [12] [13] Based on mounting evidence from molecular phylogenetic studies, Michael Fibiger and J. Donald Lafontaine [14] transferred Erebinae and relatives from the Noctuidae to the Erebidae, and reinstated Erebinae as a subfamily. Later, Catocalinae was synonymized with Erebinae in the classifications proposed by Lafontaine and Christian Schmidt [15] and Zahiri et al. [16] [1]  A historical summary of the systematics of this group is provided by Jeremy Daniel Holloway, [17] and a more detailed review of Erebinae taxonomy can be found in Nicholas T. Homziak et al. [18] The most recent study by Zahriri et al. [1] forms the basis for the current definition of the Erebinae. On the basis of consistent molecular support, Zahiri et al. [1] identified several potential morphological synapomorphies for the subfamily: proboscis with smooth apex and sensilla styloconica dorsally, modified seventh abdominal sternite in the female, divided in to two lobes surrounding the ostium bursae (female copulatory opening). In the larvae, dorsolateral tubercles on segment A8, and pupae often with waxy bloom. Within the Erebinae, Zahiri et al. [1] recognized the following 19 tribes:


Genera with tribe not available:

Related Research Articles

Noctuidae Type of moths commonly known as owlet moths, cutworms or armyworms

The Noctuidae, commonly known as owlet moths, cutworms or armyworms, are the most controversial family in the superfamily Noctuoidea because many of the clades are constantly changing, along with the other families of the Noctuoidea. It was considered the largest family in Lepidoptera for a long time, but after regrouping Lymantriinae, Catocalinae and Calpinae within the family Erebidae, the latter holds this title now. Currently, Noctuidae is the second largest family in Noctuoidea, with about 1,089 genera and 11,772 species. However, this classification is still contingent, as more changes continue to appear between Noctuidae and Erebidae.

Noctuoidea Superfamily of moths

Noctuoidea is the superfamily of noctuid or "owlet" moths, and has more than 70,000 described species, the largest number of for any Lepidopteran superfamily. Its classification has not yet reached a satisfactory or stable state. Since the end of the 20th century, increasing availability of molecular phylogenetic data for this hugely successful radiation has led to several competing proposals for a taxonomic arrangement that correctly represents the relationships between the major lineages.

Catocalini tribe of insects

The Catocalini are a tribe of moths in the family Erebidae. Adults of many species in the tribe are called underwing moths due to their vividly colored hindwings that are often covered by contrastingly dark, drab forewings.

Ophiusini tribe of insects

The Ophiusini are a tribe of moths in the family Erebidae.

Calpinae subfamily of insects

The Calpinae are a subfamily of moths in the family Erebidae described by Jean Baptiste Boisduval in 1840. This subfamily includes many species of moths that have a pointed and barbed proboscis adapted to piercing the skins of fruit to feed on juice, and in the case of the several Calyptra species of vampire moths, to piercing the skins of mammals to feed on blood. The subfamily contains some large moths with wingspans longer than 5 cm (2 in).

<i>Metalectra</i> genus of insects

Metalectra is a genus of moths of the family Erebidae described by Jacob Hübner in 1823.

Erebidae Family of moths

The Erebidae are a family of moths in the superfamily Noctuoidea. The family is among the largest families of moths by species count and contains a wide variety of well-known macromoth groups. The family includes the underwings (Catocala); litter moths (Herminiinae); tiger, lichen, and wasp moths (Arctiinae); tussock moths (Lymantriinae), including the arctic woolly bear moth ; piercing moths ; micronoctuoid moths (Micronoctuini); snout moths (Hypeninae); and zales, though many of these common names can also refer to moths outside the Erebidae. Some of the erebid moths are called owlets.

The Pericymini are a tribe of moths in the family Erebidae.

The Pandesmini are a tribe of moths in the family Erebidae.

The Catephiini are a tribe of moths in the family Erebidae.

Anobinae subfamily of insects

The Anobinae are a subfamily of moths in the family Erebidae described by Jeremy Daniel Holloway in 2005. Common morphological characteristics of Anobine moths include a dark head and prothoracic collar, lighter color on the thorax, and either bipectinate antennae or antennae with flagellomeral setae in males.

The Toxocampinae are a subfamily of moths in the family Erebidae. Moths in the subfamily typically have a primitive form of genital claspers similar to those of some subfamilies of the Noctuidae.

The Audeini are a tribe of moths in the family Erebidae.

The Cocytiini are a tribe of moths in the family Erebidae. Adults of some members of the subfamily, especially in the genus Serrodes, have a proboscis capable of piercing fruit skins, allowing the moth to drink the fruit juice.

The Hulodini are a tribe of moths in the family Erebidae.

The Omopterini are a tribe of moths in the family Erebidae.

Poaphilini tribe of insects

The Poaphilini are a tribe of moths in the family Erebidae.

The Sypnini are a tribe of moths in the family Erebidae.

The Thermesiini are a tribe of moths in the family Erebidae.

<i>Zale confusa</i> species of insect

Zale confusa, the confused zale moth, is an owlet moth in the family Erebidae. The species was first described by James Halliday McDunnough in 1940. It is found in North America.


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