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

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Cosmopteriginae have asymmetrical male genitalia, without an uncus and with the aedeagus fused to the juxta. The fore wing is without tufts of raised scales. Cosmopterix (10 spp.) contains minute, blackish species with orange and bright metallic markings. The larvae mine in leaves of grasses and other plants. C . mimetis occurs north from Sydney. Limnaecia (53 spp.) often have blackish fore wings and transverse white or orange markings, as in L . cirrhozona . L . phragmitella is a slender, ochreous species with larva burrowing among the seeds of Typha angustifolia . In Labdia (20 spp.) the hind wings are narrower. L . leucombra is one of several species with delicate stripes on the fore wing. The pink larvae of Pyroderces rileyi are scavengers in damaged cotton bolls and sorghum heads in northern Australia and North and South America.

Chrysopeleiinae have asymmetrical or symmetrical male genitalia, with the aedeagus fused to the saccus, and with an uncus present. The fore wing often has tufts of raised scales. The ovipositor sometimes is modified for piercing plant tissues. The larvae of the blackish Chalotis semnostola mine in the tips of the young phyllodes of Acacia implexa and other wattles. An introduced North American species, Ithome lassula , damages the florets and affects seedsetting in the fodder legume Leucaena leucocephala .


Very small to small; head smooth-scaled; ocelli present or absent; antennae simple or ciliated, scape long and slender, pecten sometimes present; maxillary palps 4-segmented, folded over base of proboscis; labial palps long, recurved; epiphysis present, hind tibiae with long hair-scales; fore wing lanceolate, without pterostigma, R 2 arising well before end of discal cell, R 4 and R 5 stalked, R 5 to costa, CuP vestigial or absent; hind wing linear or lanceolate, Sc separate from Rs, R 1 sometimes present, discal cell sometimes open, venation often reduced; frenulum in female with 3 bristles; abdomen without dorsal spines; male genitalia often asymmetrical, either uncus or gnathos absent; gnathos when present asymmetrical, aedeagus fused to juxta or to saccus; female sometimes with piercing ovipositor. Larva with crochets uni- or biordinal in circle; mining in leaves, boring in stems, seeds or fungi, tying leaves, forming galls, or predatory on scale insects. Pupa with maxillary palps small or absent, labial palps and fore femora concealed, cremaster sometimes present, with straight or hooked setae.


The family (Hodges 1978) contains 3 subfamilies, Antequerinae, Cosmopteriginae and Chrysopeleiinae, the first of which has not been recorded from Australia.

  • Labdia sp.