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Timber moths
Xylorycta assimilis.jpg
Adult Xylorycta assimilis of the Xyloryctidae in Aranda, Australia
Note prominent curved labial palpi and long antennae
Scientific classification

Meyrick, 1890

See text

  • Cryptophasidae Kirby, 1897
  • Uzuchidae Hampson, 1918
  • Xyloryctinae

Xyloryctidae is a family of moths contained within the superfamily Gelechioidea described by Edward Meyrick in 1890. [1] Most genera are found in the Indo-Australian region. While many of these moths are tiny, some members of the family grow to a wingspan of up to 66 mm, making them giants among the micromoths.


The first recorded instance of a common name for these moths comes from Swainson's On the History and Natural Arrangement of Insects, 1840, [2] where members of the genus Cryptophasa are described as hermit moths. This is an allusion to the caterpillar's habit of living alone in a purely residential burrow in a tree branch, to which it drags leaves at night, attaching them with silk to the entrance to the burrow and consuming the leaves as they dry out.

The name 'timber moths' was coined by the Queensland naturalist Rowland Illidge in 1892, later published in 1895, [3] and serves to distinguish these moths from other wood-boring Australian moths such as ghost moths (Hepialidae) and giant wood moths (Cossidae), which feed on sap or wood. It refers to the fact that the larvae of most members of this family are arboreal, whether they burrow into branches, bore into flower heads, tunnel under bark, or feed on lichens. Moths of the genus Maroga are pests of wattles ( Acacia ) and have crossed over from their wild host plant to become serious pests of cultivated stone fruit trees, particularly cherries.

Formerly, Xyloryctidae were placed in the Oecophoridae as the subfamily Xyloryctinae. Recent research suggests the Xyloryctidae are an independent family, sharing common ancestry with the Oecophoridae, but not descended from them.

Taxonomy and systematics

The family includes the following genera:

Related Research Articles

Gelechioidea Superfamily of moths

Gelechioidea is the superfamily of moths that contains the case-bearers, twirler moths, and relatives, also simply called curved-horn moths or gelechioid moths. It is a large and poorly understood '"micromoth" superfamily, constituting one of the basal lineages of the Ditrysia.

Scythrididae Family of moths

Scythrididae is a family of small moths in the superfamily Gelechioidea. The family is sometimes included in the Xyloryctidae as a subfamily Scythridinae, but the Xyloryctidae themselves have sometimes been included in the Oecophoridae as subfamily. Scythrididae adults are smallish to mid-sized moths, which when at rest appear teardrop-shaped.

<i>Aeolanthes</i> Genus of moths

Aeolanthes is a genus of small moths in the superfamily Gelechioidea.

<i>Lecithocera</i> Genus of moths in family Lecithoceridae

Lecithocera is a genus of moths in the lecithocerid subfamily Lecithocerinae. The genus was erected by Gottlieb August Wilhelm Herrich-Schäffer in 1853.

<i>Ethmia</i> Genus of moths

Ethmia is a large genus of small moths. It is the type genus of the gelechioid family Ethmiidae, which is sometimes included in Elachistidae or Oecophoridae as subfamily.


The Depressariinae – sometimes spelled "Depressiinae" in error – are a subfamily of moths in the superfamily Gelechioidea. Like their relatives therein, their exact relationships are not yet very well resolved. It has been considered part of family Elachistidae sensu lato or included in an expanded Oecophoridae. In modern classifications they are treated as the distinct gelechioid family Depressariidae.

Oecophorinae Subfamily of the "concealer moths" family Oecophoridae

The Oecophorinae are the nominate subfamily of moths in the concealer moth family (Oecophoridae). They are part of the insufficiently studied superfamily Gelechioidea, and like their relatives, the circumscription of this taxon is disputed.


The Epipaschiinae are a subfamily of snout moths. Almost 600 species are known today, which are found mainly in the tropics and subtropics. Some occur in temperate regions, but the subfamily is apparently completely absent from Europe, at least as native species. A few Epipaschiinae are crop pests that may occasionally become economically significant.

<i>Stathmopoda</i> Genus of moths

Stathmopoda is a genus of moths of the subfamily Stathmopodinae in the family Oecophoridae. Note that the phylogeny and systematics of gelechoid moths are still not fully resolved.

<i>Odites</i> Genus of moths

Odites is a genus of moths in the family Depressariidae. Most species of this genus are found in Asia and in Africa.

Chezala is a genus of moths of the family Oecophoridae.

Scieropepla is a genus of moths in the family Oecophoridae.


Gelechiinae is a subfamily of moths in the family Gelechiidae. It was described by Henry Tibbats Stainton in 1854.

Stathmopodidae Family of moths

Stathmopodidae is a family of moths in the moth superfamily Gelechioidea described by Edward Meyrick in 1913.

Stenomatinae Subfamily of small moths

The Stenomatinae are a subfamily of small moths in the family Depressariidae.

<i>Agriophara</i> Genus of moths

Agriophara is a genus of moths in the subfamily Stenomatinae. The genus was erected by Rudolph Rosenstock in 1885.

<i>Cryptophasa</i> Moth genus in family Xyloryctidae

Cryptophasa is a genus of moths of the family Xyloryctidae.

Maroga is a genus of moths of the family Xyloryctidae.


  1. "Xyloryctidae". Insecta.pro. Retrieved 2016-12-16.
  2. Swainson, W., and Shuckard, W.E., 1840, On the History and Natural Arrangement of Insects. Lardner's Cabinet Cyclopedia. Longman, Orme, Brown, Green, & Longmans, London, pp. 106–107
  3. Illidge, R., 1895: Xylorycts, or timber moths. Queensland Nat. Hist. Soc. Trans.,1, 29–34.