Diversity of Pollinator Moths

  • Atsushi KawakitaEmail author
  • Makoto Kato
Part of the Ecological Research Monographs book series (ECOLOGICAL)


Gracillariidae, the family to which Epicephala belongs, is a large group of miniature moths with roughly 100 recognized genera and 2000 recognized species (De Prins and De Prins 2016). They have a global distribution and are found almost everywhere there are plants, except for extremely harsh environments (e.g., the arctic). Gracillariidae is one of several lepidopteran families that consist almost entirely of leaf-mining species, although the leaf-mining habit itself is known to occur in about 30 moth families (Powell et al. 1999). In most gracillariid species, early-instar larvae have remarkably flat head capsules without chewing mandibles, and feed exclusively on cell sap within the nongreen, epidermal layer of the leaf (sap feeder; Fig. 5.1). Later-instar larvae then feed on the palisade layer and finally the spongy layer of the leaf with functional mandibles, and excrete granular frass (tissue feeder; Fig. 5.1). The larvae of the genus Phyllocnistis are exceptional in that they spend all their instars as sap feeders in the leaf epidermal layer. Gracillariid moths are thus unique among insects in that they undergo hypermetamorphosis, a process by which some larval instars become functionally and morphologically distinct from other instars.


Active Pollination Epicephala Gracillariidae Flueggea Glochidion Ornixolinae Phyllanthus Phylogeny Proboscis Seed parasite 

Literature Cited

  1. Bashford R (2002) The insect fauna inhabiting Uromycladium (Uredinales) rust galls on silver wattle (Acacia dealbata) in Tasmania. Aust Entomol 29:81–95Google Scholar
  2. Bland KP (1980) Nigerian Gracillariidae. J Lepidop Soc 34:25–35Google Scholar
  3. Braun AF (1909) Notes on Chamber’s species of Tineina. Entomol News 20:428–434Google Scholar
  4. Brito R, Gonçalves GL, Vargas HA, Moreira GR (2013) A new Brazilian Passiflora leafminer: Spinivalva gaucha, gen. n., sp. n. (Lepidoptera, Gracillariidae, Gracillariinae), the first gracillariid without a sap-feeding instar. Zookeys 17:1–26Google Scholar
  5. Busck A (1934) Microlepidoptera of Cuba. Entomol Am 13:151–217Google Scholar
  6. Clarke JFG (1986) Pyralidae and microlepidoptera of the Marquesas Archipelago. Smithson Contr Zool 416:1–485CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. De Prins J, De Prins W (2005) World catalogue of insects, Volume 6: Gracillariidae (Lepidoptera). Apollo Books, SvendborgGoogle Scholar
  8. De Prins J, De Prins W (2016) Global taxonomic database of Gracillariidae (Lepidoptera). Available at:
  9. Diakonoff A (1955) Microlepidoptera of New Guinea. Results of the third Archbold Expedition (American-Netherlands Indian Expedition 1938–1939). Part V. Verhandelingen der Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen, Afdeling Natuurkunde 50:1–210Google Scholar
  10. Fletcher TB (1921) Life-histories of Indian Insects. Microlepidoptera. VI. Gracillariadae [sic]. Mem Dept Agr ic India Entomol Ser 6:1–217Google Scholar
  11. Fletcher TB (1933) Life histories of Indian Microlepidoptera (Second Series). Cosmopterygidae to Neopseustidae. Scientific monograph, vol 4. Imperial Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi, pp 1–85Google Scholar
  12. Hu BB, Wang SX, Zhang J, Li HH (2011) Taxonomy and biology of two seed-parasitic gracillariid moths (Lepidoptera, Gracillariidae), with description of one new species. ZooKeys 83:43–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Kato M, Takimura A, Kawakita K (2003) An obligate pollination mutualism and reciprocal diversification in the tree genus Glochidion (Euphorbiaceae). Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 100:5264–5267CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  14. Kawahara AY, Sohn J-C, De Prins J, Cho S (2010) Five species of Gracillariidae (Lepidoptera) new to Korea. Entomol Res 40:131–135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kawahara AY, Plotkin D, Ohshima I, Lopez-Vaamonde C, Houlihan P, Breinholt JW, Kawakita A, Xiao L, Regier JC, Davis DR, Kumata T, Sohn J-C, De Prins J, Mitter C (2017) A molecular phylogeny and revised higher-level classification for the leaf-mining moth family Gracillariidae and its implications for larval host use evolution. Syst Entomol 42:60–81CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kawakita A, Kato M (2009) Repeated independent evolution of obligate pollination mutualism in the Phyllantheae–Epicephala association. Proc R Soc B 276:417–426CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Kawakita A, Kato M (2016) Revision of the Japanese species of Epicephala Meyrick with descriptions of seven new species (Lepidoptera, Gracillariidae). ZooKeys 568:87–118CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kuznetzov VI, Baryshnikova SV (2001) New and little-known Asian species of the leaf miners (Lepidoptera, Gracillariidae). Trudy Zoologicheskogo Instituta, Rossijskaya Akademija Nauk 291:31–46Google Scholar
  19. Kawakita A, Mochizuki K, Kato M (2015) Reversal of mutualism in a leafflower–leafflower moth association: the possible driving role of a third-party partner. Biol J Linn Soc 116:507–518CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kumata T (1966) Descriptions of twenty new species of the genus Caloptilia Hübner from Japan including the Ryukyu Islands (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Insecta Matsumurana 29:1–21Google Scholar
  21. Kumata T (1982) A taxonomic revision of the Gracillaria group occurring in Japan (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Insecta Matsumurana 26:1–186Google Scholar
  22. Kumata T (1998) Japanese species of the subfamily Oecophyllembiinae Real et Balachowsky. (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae), with descriptions of a new genus and eight new species. Insecta Matsumurana 54:77–131Google Scholar
  23. Kumata T, Kuroko H, Ermolaev VP (1988a) Japanese species of the Acrocercops-group (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Part II. Insecta Matsumurana 40:1–133Google Scholar
  24. Kumata T, Kuroko H, Ermolaev VP (1988b) Japanese species of the Acrocercops-group (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Part I. Insecta Matsumurana 38:1–111Google Scholar
  25. Kuznetzov VI (1979) A review of the genera of Gracillariidae (Lepidoptera) of the Palaearctic fauna. Entomol Obozr 58:835–856Google Scholar
  26. Li H, Yang X (2015) Three new species of Epicephala Meyrick (Lepidoptera, Gracillariidae) associated with Phyllanthus microcarpus (Benth.) (Phyllanthaceae). ZooKeys 484:71–81CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Li H, Zhang Z (2016) Five species of the genus Epicephala Meyrick, 1880 (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) from China. Zootaxa 4084:391–405CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Li H, Wang Z, Hu B (2015) Four new species of Epicehala Meyrick, 1880 (Lepidoptera, Gracillariidae) associated with two species of Glochidion (Phyllanthaceae) from Hainan Island in China. ZooKeys 508:53–67CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Meyrick E (1881) Descriptions of Australian micro-Lepidoptera. III Tineina Proc Linnean Soc NSW 5(132–182):204–271Google Scholar
  30. Meyrick E (1908a) Descriptions of Indian Micro-Lepidoptera. VIII. J Bombay Nat Hist Soc 18:806–832Google Scholar
  31. Meyrick E (1908b) Descriptions of African Micro-Lepidoptera. Proc Zool Soc London 47:716–756Google Scholar
  32. Meyrick E (1910) Notes and descriptions of Indian Micro-Lepidoptera. Rec Indian Mus 5:217–232CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Meyrick E (1918) Exotic Microlepidoptera. Exotic Microlepidoptera (Marlborough) 2:161–192Google Scholar
  34. Meyrick E (1922) Exotic Microlepidoptera. Exotic Microlepidoptera (Marlborough) 2:545–576Google Scholar
  35. Meyrick E (1927) Micro-Lepidoptera. Insects of Samoa 3:65–116. British Museum of Natural History, LondonGoogle Scholar
  36. Meyrick E (1930) Exotic microlepidoptera. Exotic Microlepidoptera (Marlborough) 3:577–608Google Scholar
  37. Meyrick E (1931) Exotic microlepidoptera. Exotic Microlepidoptera (Marlborough) 4:161–192Google Scholar
  38. Meyrick E (1935) Exotic microlepidoptera. Exotic Microlepidoptera (Marlborough) 4:577–608Google Scholar
  39. Meyrick E (1936) Exotic microlepidoptera. Exotic Microlepidoptera (Marlborough) 5:1–64Google Scholar
  40. Ohshima I (2008) Host race formation in the leaf-mining moth Acrocercops transecta (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Biol J Linn Soc 93:135–145CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Ralimanana H, Hoffmann P (2011) Taxonomic revision of Phyllanthus (Phyllanthaceae) in Madagascar and the Comoro Islands I: synopsis and subgenera Isocladus, Betsileani, Kirganelia and Tenellanthus. Kew Bull 66:331–335CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Robinson GS, Tuck KR, Shaffer M (1994) A field guide to the smaller moths of South-East Asia. Malaysian Nature Society, Kuala Lumpur, pp 1–309Google Scholar
  43. Robinson GS, Ackery PR, Kitching IJ, Beccaloni GW, Hernández LM (2001) Hostplants of the moth and butterfly caterpillars of the Oriental Region. The Natural History Museum, London, pp 1–744Google Scholar
  44. Stainton HT (1856) Descriptions of three species of Indian Micro-Lepidoptera. Trans Entomol Soc Lond NS 3:301–304Google Scholar
  45. Stainton HT (1859) Descriptions of twenty-five species of Indian Micro-Lepidoptera. Trans Entomol Soc Lond NS 5:111–126Google Scholar
  46. Sugisima K, Kumata T, Tominaga S (2005) Discovery of Acrocercops tricuneatella (Gracillariidae, Gracillariinae) from Ryukyu, southern Japan, and its appropriate generic placement. Trans Lepid Soc Jap 56:257–265Google Scholar
  47. Turner AJ (1894) Descriptions of Micro-Lepidoptera from Moreton Bay. Trans Proc R Soc S Aust 18:120–138Google Scholar
  48. Turner AJ (1896) Descriptions of Micro-Lepidoptera from Queensland. Trans Proc R Soc S Aust 20:1–34Google Scholar
  49. Turner AJ (1900) New Micro-Lepidoptera, mostly from Queensland. Trans Proc R Soc S Aust 24:6–23Google Scholar
  50. Turner AJ (1913) Studies in Australian Microlepidoptera. Proc Linnean Soc NSW 38:174–228Google Scholar
  51. Turner AJ (1940) A revision of the Australian Gracilariidae [sic] (Lepidoptera). Trans Proc R Soc S Aust 64:50–69Google Scholar
  52. Turner AJ (1947) Contributions to our knowledge of Australian Microlepidoptera. Proc R Soc Queensl 57:65–74Google Scholar
  53. Vargas HA, Landry B (2005) A new genus and species of Gracillariidae (Lepidoptera) feeding on flowers of Acacia macracantha Willd. (Mimosaceae) in Chile. Acta Entomol Chil 29:47–57Google Scholar
  54. Vári L (1961) South African Lepidoptera. volume 1: Lithocolletidae. Transvaal Museum, PretoriaGoogle Scholar
  55. Webster GL, Carpenter KJ (2002) Pollen morphology and phylogenetic relationships in neotropical Phyllanthus (Euphorbiaceae). Bot J Linn Soc 138:325–338CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Webster GL, Carpenter KJ (2008) Pollen morphology and systematics of palaeotropical Phyllanthus and related genera of Phyllanthinae (Euphorbiaceae). Bot J Linn Soc 157:591–608CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Wise KAJ (1962) Parectopa leucocyma (Meyrick) (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) rediscovered as a leaf-miner of kauri (Agathis australis Salisb.) Trans R Soc NZ Zool 1:373–375Google Scholar
  58. Zhang J, Wang SX, Li HH, Hu BB, Yang XF, Wang ZB (2012a) Diffuse coevolution between two Epicephala species (Gracillariidae) and two Breynia species (Phyllanthaceae). PLoS ONE 7:e41657CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  59. Zhang J, Hu B, Wang S, Li H (2012b) Six new species of Epicephala Meyrick, 1880 (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) associated with Phyllanthaceae plants. Zootaxa 3275:43–54Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Japan KK 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Ecological ResearchKyoto UniversityOtsuJapan
  2. 2.Graduate School of Human and Environmental StudiesKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan

Personalised recommendations