What Bug Is That? The guide to Australian insect families.

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The larvae are usually leaf-tiers, but Tonica effractella , from northern Australia, tunnel in the stems of cotton and of Brachychiton and Sterculia . The larvae of Peritorneuta circulatella from northern and eastern Australia feed between joined leaves of Cupaniopsis and Atalaya .


Small to medium-sized; head smooth-scaled; ocelli usually absent; antennae usually filiform, occasionally bipectinate, scape with or without pecten; maxillary palps 4-segmented, folded over base of proboscis; labial palps recurved, 2nd segment sometimes porrect and expanded with scales; epiphysis present, hind tibiae with piliform scales above; fore wing broad, without pterostigma, R 2 and R 3 sometimes stalked, R 4 and R 5 stalked, CuP present; hind wing usually broader than fore wing, Rs and M 1 parallel or connate, CuP present. S2 with long and slender apodemes and reduced rods; abdomen rarely with dorsal spines; male genitalia usually without uncus, gnathos usually with 1, 2 or 4 spinose knobs. Larva without secondary setae, crochets in bi- or triordinal circle. Pupa short, stout, sometimes with smooth, sclerotised cuticle and formed in larval shelter, or variously formed and exposed, attached upright by hooked setae around margin and on truncate end.


The family is richly developed in the Northern Hemisphere, but only moderately so in Australia, where some species are restricted to rainforest, and others occur widely in sclerophyll forest or in alpine heathland in Tas. above 1000 m. Some genera, such as Pedois (14 spp.), Tonica (2 spp.), and Peritorneuta (7 spp.), have a semi-erect, naked pupa with truncate abdomen attached to a pad of silk. The gnathos in the male is usually spinose.