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Diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Suborder: Glossata
Infraorder: Heteroneura
(unranked): Ditrysia
Superfamily: Yponomeutoidea
Family: Plutellidae
Guenee, 1845

See text.

About 200 species
  • Plutellinae Guenee, 1845
  • Plutellini Guenee, 1845

The Plutellidae are a family of moths commonly known as the diamondback moths, named after the diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella) of European origin. Some authors consider this family to be a subfamily of the Yponomeutidae, but it is usually considered to be a family in its own right, and have three subfamilies, Plutellinae, Praydinae, and Scythropiinae.[1]


Moths in this family are small to medium in size with wingspans ranging from 7 to 55 mm (0.3 to 2.2 in). The head usually bears smooth scales and the antennae are often thickened in the middle. The wings are elongated and the hindwings often bear long fringes. The forewings often appear to be sickle-shaped because of the arrangement of the fringes. The colouring is generally drab, with various banding and marking. The adults are mostly nocturnal or crepuscular. The larvae feed on the surfaces of leaves which they skeletonise. The host plants vary, but many are in the Brassicaceae family. Some species are economic pests, especially Plutella xylostella and those in the genus Prays.[1]


Excluded genera and species[edit]

The fungus moth Erechthias niphochrysa was also once included here, as a distinct genus Acrocenotes.

The family Acrolepiidae (including the genera Acrolepia, Acrolepiopsis, and Digitivalva) is sometimes included in the Plutellidae.


  1. ^ a b Capinera, John L. (2008). Encyclopedia of Entomology. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 1206. ISBN 978-1-4020-6242-1.
  • Mey, W, 2011: New and little known species of Lepidoptera of southwestern Africa. Esperiana Buchreihe zur Entomologie Memoir 6: 146-261.
  • Mey, W, 2012: Phrealcia steueri n. sp. und P. friesei n. sp. - zwei neue Arten einer disjunkt verbreiteten Gattung (Lepidoptera, Ypsolophidae). Entomologische Nachrichten und Berichte 56:53- 57.
  • Pitkin, B. & P. Jenkins. Butterflies and Moths of the World: Generic Names and their Type-species. Natural History Museum.[1].
  • Sohn, J.-C. & J.A. Lewis, 2012: Catalogue of the type specimens of Yponomeutoidea (Lepidoptera) in the collection of the United States National Museum of Natural History. Zootaxa 3573: 1-17. Abstract: [2].