Phyllocnistis

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Phyllocnistis
Phyllocnistis maxberryi.jpg
Phyllocnistis maxberryi
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Gracillariidae
Subfamily: Phyllocnistinae
Genus: Phyllocnistis
Zeller, 1848
Species

See text

Phyllocnistis is a genus of moths in the family Gracillariidae.

Description[edit]

Adult[edit]

Adults of the genus Phyllocnistis are very small moths with wingspans generally not exceeding 5 mm. Both fore- and hindwings are lanceolate and predominantly white. The forewings are marked with yellow to orange, longitudinal and oblique striae, often bordered by gray or black. A few species are known to possess much darker or strikingly color patterns. The compound eyes of Phyllocnistis are reduced, with an interocular index (vertical eye diameter/minimum interocular distance) of approximately 0.9. The maxillary palpi are the most reduced among Gracillariidae, being barely evident as vestigial, non-segmented lobes at the base of the elongate proboscis. The wing venation is also reduced.

Larvae[edit]

The larvae of Phyllocnistis are among the most specialized Lepidoptera. Four instars appear to be the norm, with the first three instars possessing a sapfeeding morphology and behavior. Sapfeeding instars create a long serpentine, subepidermal mine on either the upper or lower surfaces of the host leaf. A few species also form subepidermal mines on stems and various fruits, including avocado. A characteristic, median frass trail extends the length of the mine, usually as a dark, unbroken line. The fourth instar is a highly specialized, apodal, non-feeding instar whose primary function is to spin the cocoon, at the mine terminus, prior to pupation.

Pupae[edit]

In contrast to the conservative morphology of the larval and adult stages, the pupae of Phyllocnistis are structurally diverse, particularly with regard to the development of the frontal process (cocoon-cutter) of the head. In addition, the mid-dorsal areas of abdominal terga 3–7 possess a mostly symmetrical cluster of recurved spines that frequently differ in their arrangement and form among species.[1]

Ecology[edit]

Phyllocnistis can be found on many host plants, and have been noted on plants from at least 20 families.[2] One well-known species is the citrus leafminer (Phyllocnistis citrella), a pest of plants in the family Rutaceae, especially citrus.[3]

Species[edit]

As of 2012, about 126 Phyllocnistis species have been described. This is probably a fraction of the true diversity of the genus, especially in the tropics, where there may be hundreds of species yet to be collected.[2]

References[edit]

External links[edit]