, 130:203 | Cite as

A comparative survey of proboscis morphology and associated structures in fruit-piercing, tear-feeding, and blood-feeding moths in Calpinae (Lepidoptera: Erebidae)

  • Jennifer M. Zaspel
  • S. J. Weller
  • M. A. Branham
Original Paper


Functional feeding categories for adult species of Calpinae are described. Structures associated with the proboscis were examined using exemplar species in fruit-piercing, blood-feeding, and tear-feeding species using both light microscopy and SEM methods. At least three genera currently placed in Calpini, and several others in related groups lack specialized piercing structures. The proboscis of the tear-feeding species, Hemiceratoides hieroglyphica, is equipped with specialized cuticular hooks not yet observed in other tear-feeding species. Tearing hooks moveable by blood pressure are restricted to Calpini species, and little additional variation within this taxon exists, suggesting proboscis morphology may not be strongly correlated with feeding behavior (e.g., fruit piercing vs. blood feeding). A glossary of terms and character codings for proboscis structures is provided, and morphologies for all included calpine taxa are described. We discuss the taxonomic significance of proboscis morphology in Calpinae and the evolutionary implications of their associated feeding behaviors. This survey indicates morphology provides powerful prediction, but not proof of lepidopteran adult food habits.


Calpinae Lepidopteran mouthparts Morphology Evolution 



This research was inspired by the numerous papers of Dr. Bänziger and his passion for Calyptra. The authors thank the Florida Department of Agriculture, Division of Plant Industries, Gainesville, FL, for the use of their SEM facility and Paul Skelly for his assistance with the imaging equipment as well as Branden Apitz for assistance with SEM formatting. Roland Hilgartner and Harry Fay kindly provided two adult feeding images (Fig. 1e, d). We also thank Harald Krenn for suggestions on an earlier review of this manuscript. This project was funded in part by NSF-DDIG0807975 (Branham, Zaspel) and NSF-DEB0531639 (Weller).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer M. Zaspel
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • S. J. Weller
    • 2
    • 3
  • M. A. Branham
    • 4
  1. 1.Biology and Microbiology DepartmentUniversity of Wisconsin OshkoshOshkoshUSA
  2. 2.Department of EntomologyUniversity of MinnesotaSt. PaulUSA
  3. 3.Bell Museum of Natural HistoryUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  4. 4.Department of Entomology and NematologyUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

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