The Aquatic Lepidopterans: A Mysterious and Unknown Fauna

  • Iasmim De-Freitas
  • Julia De Agostini
  • Vanessa Stefani


The order Lepidoptera is represented by the popular butterflies and moths, and is identified by the presence of scales on the wings with an extraordinary variety of colors and sizes. Although most Lepidoptera are exclusively terrestrial there are some lineages associated with the aquatic environment. Little is known about aspects of the biology and life history of its representatives leading to a gap in scientific knowledge. Thus, we can find aquatic Lepidoptera that have tracheal breathing that can remain outside the water for a limited time, being considered semiaquatic larvae, while larvae with branchial respiration are aquatic while retaining all their submerged larval development. In this chapter, possible evolutionary paths are explored which aquatic lepidopteran larvae had to live in aquatic environments and we examine the incipient studies that address life aspects of these extraordinary animals.


Moths Butterflies Parapoynx Petrophila Crambidae Caterpillar 



We wish to acknowledge the help provided by an anonymous reviewer who made valuable improvements in our research text, to Lanna Issa dos Santos Barcelos for making the beautiful schemes, and finally to CNPq (Iasmim De-Freitas) and FAPEMIG (Júlia De Agostini) for financial support.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Iasmim De-Freitas
    • 1
  • Julia De Agostini
    • 1
  • Vanessa Stefani
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratório de História Natural e Reprodutiva de Artrópodes (LHINRA)Instituto de Biologia, Universidade Federal de UberlândiaUberlândiaBrazil

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