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Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Suborder: Glossata
Infraorder: Heteroneura
(unranked): Ditrysia
Superfamily: Copromorphoidea
Family: Copromorphidae
Meyrick, 1905

 Species - see "Provisional list of species"

About 40 species

Copromorphidae, the "tropical fruitworm moths" is a family of insects in the lepidopteran order. These moths have broad, rounded forewings, and well-camouflaged scale patterns. Unlike Carposinidae the mouthparts include "labial palps" with the second rather than third segment the longest. The position of the enigmatic New Zealand genus Isonomeutis in this family in uncertain, as it lacks the flimsy cuticle of the pupa characteristic of other Copromorphoidea. With other unusual structural characteristics of the caterpillar and adult, it could represent the sister lineage of all other extant members of this superfamily (Dugdale et al., 1999). The genus Sisyroxena from Madagascar is also notable for its unusual venation and wing scale sockets (Dugdale et al., 1999).


The word Copromorphidae derives from the Ancient Greek words κόπρος (copros) meaning "excrement" and μορφή (morphe) meaning "shape" or "appearance", a reference to the visual characteristics of the moths' camouflage.


These moths are widely distributed except the Palearctic region, occurring in Madagascar, India, South East Asia, New Guinea, Australia, New Zealand, the Neotropics, with limited Temperate region coverage except that the genera Lotisma and Ellabella occur in North America and the latter also in China (Common, 1990). Over 20 belong to the genus Copromorpha occurring in Indo-Australia (Dugdale et al., 1999).


Adults are night-flying and attracted to lights. Caterpillars live between joined leaves, flowers or fruits or bore within stems, and some eat leaves. The larvae pupate with the silken gallery or descend to the ground and make a cocoon covered in detritus (Dugdale et al., 1999).

Larval hostplants[edit]

Caterpillars feed on the families Ericaceae, Moraceae (Ficus) and Berberidaceae[1]. The anomalous genus Isonomeutis is a predator on "scale insects" (Coccoidea; Margarodidae) (Dugdale et al., 1999) on the Podocarpaceae species Dacrydium cupressinum[2].


One fossil taxon is known, Copromorpha fossilis Jarzembowski, 1980 from the "Bembridge Marls" of Isle of Wight, a rock formation of Oligocene age, about 35 million years old (Jarzembowski, 1980).


Formerly placed here[edit]


  • Common, I.F.B. (1990). Moths of Australia. Brill Academic Publishers, Leiden. 535 pages.
  • Dugdale, J.S., Kristensen, N.P., Robinson, G.S. and Scoble, M.J. (1999). The smaller microlepidoptera grade superfamilies, Ch.13., pp. 217–232 in Kristensen, N.P. (Ed.). Lepidoptera, Moths and Butterflies. Volume 1: Evolution, Systematics, and Biogeography. Handbuch der Zoologie. Eine Naturgeschichte der Stämme des Tierreiches / Handbook of Zoology. A Natural History of the phyla of the Animal Kingdom. Band / Volume IV Arthropoda: Insecta Teilband / Part 35: 491 pp. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin, New York.
  • Jarzembowski, E.A. (1980). Fossil, insects from the Bembridge Marls, Palaeogene of the Isle of Wight, southern England. Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History) (Geology), 33: 237–293.
  • Nasu, Y., Saito, T, Furumi Komai, F. (2004). Discovery of the previously unrecorded family Copromorphidae Meyrick (Lepidoptera) in Japan, with description of a new species and autapomorphies for the family Entomological Science, 7 (1): 73–83. doi:10.1111/j.1479-8298.2003.00041.x

External links[edit]