Families of Moths

Short synopses are given in this section of the moth families known to occur in North Dakota. As the website expands, so will this section. Each entry consists of: family name, common name for that family, diagnosis, diversity, checklist numbers, biology, and further reading.

Family names, as well as the classification followed, are as laid out in Kristensen (1999). The diagnosis includes so far as possible easily seen identifying characters for a given family; characters which happen to be universal for North Dakota species when given are noted as such. Under diversity, relative numbers of genera and species are given on a world basis, for North America and (so far as known) for North Dakota. Checklist number refers to the numbers assigned to species in the Hodges et al. (1983) checklist for each family, but under the modern concepts in Kristensen. Biology includes general life history information. Further reading is a list of references as information sources for moth identification and those used in constructing these web pages. See also the general references listed below. As of this writing, about 1,400 species of moths are known from the Dakotas.


Families of North Dakota moths

Family Hepialidae: Ghost moths
Family Nepticulidae: Nepticulids
Family Opostegidae: Opostegids
Family Prodoxidae: Yucca moths
Family Tineidae: Cloths moths
Family Acrolophidae: Burrowing webworms
Family Psychidae: Bagworm moths
Family Gracilliariidae: Leaf-blotch miners
Family Bucculatricidae: Ribbed cocoon makers
Family Yponomeutidae: Ermine moths
Family Plutellidae: Diamondbacked moths
Family Glyphipterigidae: Sedge moths
Family Bedelliidae: Bedelliids
Family Elachistidae: Elachistids
Family Autostichidae:
Family Glyphidoceridae: Glyphidocerids
Family Batrachedridae: Batrachedrids
Family Oecophoridae: Oecophorids
Family Coleophoridae: Case-bearers
Family Cosmopterigidae: Cosmopterigids
Family Gelechiidae: Gelechiids
Family Limacodidae: Slug caterpillars
Family Sesiidae: Clearwing moths
Family Cossidae: Carpenter moths
Family Tortricidae: Leaf-rollers/Bell moths
Family Choreutidae: Choreutids
Family Schreckensteiniidae: Schrecks
Family Epermeniidae: Epermeniids
Family Alucitidae: Many-plumed moths
Family Pterophoridae: Plume moths
Family Thyrididae: Window-winged moths
Family Pyralidae: Pyralid snout moths
Family Crambidae: Crambid snout moths
Family Drepanidae: Hook-tipped moths
Family Uraniidae: Uraniid moths
Family Geometridae: Inchworms
Family Bombycidae: Wild silk moths
Family Lasiocampidae: Tent caterpillars
Family Saturniidae: Giant silk moths
Family Sphingidae: Sphinx moths
Family Notodontidae: Notodontid moths
Family Pantheidae: Pantheids
Family Noctuidae: Owlet moths
Family Nolidae: Nolid moths
Family Arctiidae: Tiger moths
Family Lymantriidae: Tussock moths

General references:

Covell, Charles C. Jr. 1984. A Field Guide to Moths. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, MA. 496 pp.

__________.  1999.  The butterflies and moths of Kentucky.  An annotated checklist.  Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission, Scientific and Technical Series Number 6: 220 pp.

Ferguson, Douglas C. 1975. Host records for Lepidoptera reared in eastern North America. U.S. Dept. Agric. Tech. Bull. 1521. 49 pp.

Ferguson, Douglas C., Chuck E. Harp, Paul A. Opler, Richard S. Peigler, Michael Pogue, Jerry A. Powell, and Michael J. Smith. 1999. Moths of North America, Jamestown , ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Home Page. http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/distr/lepid/moths/mothsusa.htm  (Version 15May2001).

Forbes, William T. M. 1923. Lepidoptera of New York and neighboring states. Part I. Primitive forms, Microlepidoptera, Pyraloids, Bombyces. Cornell Agric. Exp. Sta. Mem. 68: 729 pp.

__________. 1948. Lepidoptera of New York and neighboring states. Part III. Geometridae, Sphingidae, Notodontidae, Lymantriidae. Cornell Agric. Exp. Sta. Mem. 274: 263 pp.

__________. 1960. Lepidoptera of New York and neighboring states. Part IV. Agaristidae through Nymphalidae. Cornell Agric. Exp. Sta. Mem. 371: 188 pp.

Harp, Chuck E., Paul A. Opler, Richard S. Peigler, Michael Pogue, Jerry A. Powell, and Michael J. Smith. 1999. Moths of North America, Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Home Page. http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/distr/Lepid/moths/mothsusa.htm  (Version 21JUL2000).

Hodges, Ronald W. et al. 1983. Check list of the Lepidoptera of America north of Mexico. E. W. Classey Ltd. London. 284 pp.

Holland, William Jacob. 1903. The Moth Book. Doubleday, Page & Co., New York. 479 pp.

Kannowski, Paul B. 1981. Entomofauna of the vicinity of the Leland Olds electric power generation plant near Stanton, North Dakota. Univer. N. D. Res. Rpt. 38: 243 pp.

Kimball, Charles P.  1965.  Lepidoptera of Florida.  Arthropods of Florida, Vol. 1.  Florida Dep. Agric.  363 pp.

Kristensen, Neils P. ed. 1999. Lepidoptera, moths and butterflies. Part 35, Vol. 1 in Handbook of Zoology. Maximilian Fischer ed. Walter de Gryter, New York. 491 pp.

Lienk, S. E., P. J. Chapman, and D. R. Webb. 1991. Flight period(s) of the larger species of moths (Macrolepidoptera) that occur in western New York. N. Y. Food & Life Sci. Bull. 137: 152 pp.

Miller, Jeffrey C.  1995.  Caterpillars of Pacific Northwest forests and woodlands.  U. S. Dep. Agric.  Forest Service  FHM-NC-06-95: 80 pp.

Miller, Jeffrey C. and Paul C. Hammond. 2000. Macromoths of northwest forests and woodlands. U. S. Dept. Agric. Forest Serv. FHTET-98-18: 133 pp.

Scoble, Malcom J. 1992. The Lepidoptera: form, function, and diversity. Oxford Univ. press. 1982. 404 pp.

Stehr, Fredrick W. ed. Lepidoptera, pp. 288-596 in Ibid. Immature insects Vol 1, 754 pp. Kendall/ Hunt publ. Co. Dubuque, IA.

Truman, Philaetus Clark, 1896. Lepidoptera in South Dakota. Entomol. News. 7: 298-99.

__________. 1897. Lepidoptera in South Dakota. Entomol. News. 8: 27-29. 

Wagner, D. L., Valerie Giles, Richard C. Reardon, and Michael L. McManus.  1997.  Caterpillars of eastern forests.  U.S. Dept. Agric. Forest Service.  FHTET-96-34: 113 pp.