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Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Suborder: Glossata
Infraorder: Heteroneura
(unranked): Ditrysia
Superfamily: Urodoidea
Family: Urodidae
Kyrki, 1984
over 60 species

Urodidae or "false burnet moths" is a family of insects in the lepidopteran order, representing its own superfamily, Urodoidea, with three genera, one of which, Wockia, occurs in Europe.

Taxonomy and systematics[edit]

Urodidae were previously included in the superfamily Yponomeutoidea (Kyrki, 1984, 1988) and have also been lumped with Galacticidae (Heppner, 1991, 1997) or with other Sesioidea (Heppner, 1998). They belong to the lower part of the lepidopteran clade "Apoditrysia"[1] (Dugdale et al., 1999) (i.e. not "Obtectomera"[2]), but their closest relatives are as yet unknown and it is hoped that DNA sequencing can help resolve this question[3].

Morphology and identification[edit]

Urodidae resemble some Zygaenidae: Procridinae at rest [4], These small to medium-sized moths measure 11 to 37 mm in wingspan and often have a greyish or mottled forewing background colour. The male adult has a "hairpencil" on the costa of the hindwing. In the caterpillar, the placement of the setae and structure of the prolegs is diagnostic, and the pupal segments I-II are fixed. On the head, there are no ocelli or "chaetosemata" and the proboscis even at the base is unscaled. An "epiphysis" is present on the foreleg (Dugdale et al. (1999), and for more details).


The genera Urodus and Spiladarcha occur in the Neotropics whilst Wockia asperipunctella occurs in Europe and has recently been found in northern North America (Heppner, 1997; Landry, 1998) and unless this is a recent invasion the species would be a good example of a Holarctic distribution pattern.

Biology and host plants[edit]

Pupa of an Urodidae species

The biology is poorly known, but the larvae can be found on various tree species including some fruit trees. The "bumelia webworm moth" (Urodus parvula) is recorded on Lauraceae: (avocado=Persea), Fagaceae (Quercus), Sapotaceae (Sideroxylon) and Erythroxylaceae: Erythroxylum. Urodus parvula has also been reared on Rutaceae (Citrus) and Malvaceae (Hibiscus)[5]. W. asperipunctella has in North America been reared from quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) (Landry, 1998) and also Salix in Europe. The pupa is contained in an open-mesh cocoon, which can be bright orange in colour, which is sometimes suspended on a very long thread below a leaf.


  • Heppner, J. (1991). Faunal regions and the diversity of Lepidoptera. Tropical Lepidoptera, '2 (Suppl. 1): 1-85.
  • Heppner, J. (1997). Wockia asperipunctella in North America (Lepidoptera: Urodidae: Galacticinae). Holarctic Lepidoptera, 4(2)
  • Heppner, J. (1998). Classification of Lepidoptera. Part 1. Introduction. Holarctic Lepidoptera, '5 (Suppl. 1): 1-148.
  • Kyrki, J. (1983). Adult abdominal sternum II in ditrysian tineoid superfamilies - morphology and phylogenetic significance (Lepidoptera). Annales Entomologia Fennica, 49: 89-9
  • Kyrki, J. (1988). The systematic position of Wockia Heinemann, 1870 and related genera (Lepidoptera: Ditrysia: Yponomeutidae auct.). Nota lepidopterologica, 11: 45-69.
  • Landry, J.-F. (1998). Additional Nearctic records of Wockia aspericpunctella, with notes on its distribution and structural variation (Lepidoptera: Urodidae). Holarctic Lepidoptera, 5(3): 9-13.


  • Firefly Encyclopedia of Insects and Spiders, edited by Christopher O'Toole, ISBN 1-55297-612-2, 2002. [Vernacular name]
  • The systematic position of Wockia Heinemann, 1870, and related genera (Lepidoptera: Ditrysia: Yponomeutidae auct.). Nota lepidopterologica, 11(1): 53.[6]

Provisional list of species (based on Lepindex)[edit]

External links[edit]