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

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The adults of this small family with 6 named and several unnamed Australian species are easily recognised by their broad, many-plumed wings which are spread out flat when the adults rest.


Small to very small; head smooth-scaled with lateral tufts; antennae filiform, about half length of fore wing; proboscis present; maxillary palps small, 3-5-segmented, or absent; labial palps moderate to long, recurved, 2nd segment usually with projecting scales; spurs 0-2-4; hind tibiae with stiff, spine-like scales above; fore wing broad, divided into 6 plumes, sometimes with narrow costal fold, hind wings with 6 or 7 plumes, wings rarely entire (South American species only); female with 2 frenular bristles; males sometimes with expandible pencil of long scales near base of anal plume of hind wing; T3-6 with narrow anterior band of spines. Eggs of flat type, cylindrical. Larva stout, ventral prolegs short with uniordinal crochets in complete circle; L1 and L2 approximate on abdominal segments 1-8, on separate oblique pinnacula; tunnels in flowers, buds, fruits and shoots, sometimes producing galls. Pupa with only segments 5 and 6 movable, tip with hooked setae, without cremaster; in cocoon on ground or in gall.


All Australian species are placed in Alucita . A . phricodes occurs in eastern Qld and N.S.W.; its larvae feed in flowers and flower buds of Pandorea . The larvae of A . pygmaea from Qld and the N.T. feed in the fruits of Canthium oleifolium . A large, unnamed species known from North Qld and north-western W.A. has larvae which form large, elliptical stem-galls in Canthium sp.