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Superfamily Papilionoidea

The approximately 14,000 species that comprise this superfamily are arranged in four families by Nielsen and Common (1991), though other authorities (e.g., Munroe, 1982) split the group up into more than a dozen families. NYMPHALIDAE (Figure 9.33A,B) form the dominant butterfly family with some 6000 described species. Members of the family are recognized by their short, functionless, hairy forelegs. Many are distasteful or mimic distasteful species. The major subfamilies are the DANAINAE (milkweed butterflies and monarchs), SATYRINAE (satyrs, wood nymphs, meadow browns, heaths, etc.), NYMPHALINAE (frit-illaries, peacocks, admirals, tortoiseshells), HELICONIINAE (heliconians), and MORPHI-NAE (morphos). The almost 600 species of PAPILIONIDAE (swallowtails) (Figure 9.33C) are large, mainly tropical or subtropical butterflies. Adults are strikingly colored and in many species mimic Danainae. The sexes are frequently dimorphic, and among females polymorphism is common. Larvae are usually procryptically colored. They may be smooth, with a row of raised tubercles on the dorsal surface. Situated dorsally on the prothorax is an eversible osmeterium that emits a pungent odor. The family PIERIDAE (whites, sulfurs, orange tips) (1200 species) includes some very common butterflies. The family is primarily tropical, though well represented in temperate regions. Included in the genus Pieris are several species that are pests, especially of Cruciferae. The commonest of these is Pieris rapae, probably the most economically important of all butterflies. The LYCAENIDAE (blues, coppers, hairstreaks) form a widespread family of about 6000 species of small- to medium-sized butterflies. The upper surfaces of the wings are metallic blue or coppery in color, the undersides are somber and often with eyespots or streaks. Larvae are onisciform (shaped like a woodlouse). Many species are carnivorous on homopterans, and a few live in ant nests, feeding on eggs and larvae. Many of the phytophagous species are nocturnal feeders, hiding in holes by day.

Superfamily Mimallonoidea

This group of about 200 species is primarily neotropical, though a handful of species occur in North America. All species are included in the family MIMALLONIDAE, which had been considered as belonging to the Bombycoidea or Pyraloidea by earlier authors. The lack of tympanal organs rules out the latter possibility. Larvae of these nocturnal moths live in a web between two leaves when young, but older instars construct a portable case of leaves, silk, and sometimes frass.

Superfamily Bombycoidea

The outstanding feature of Bombycoideais the reduction or absence of adult characters. Ocelli and tympanal organs are never present. Reduction or loss of the frenulum occurs, and the amplexiform method of wing coupling is developed. The proboscis is rudimentary or absent in the more specialized families. The group is split up into as many as 15 families, including the Sphingidae, which is often given its own superfamily. Relationships among the families remain unclear, that is, the Bombycoidea as presently constituted may be polyphyletic. Most families are small to extremely small, with more than 95% of the species

FIGURE 9.33. Papilionoidea. (A) The monarch butterfly, Danaus plexippus (Nymphalidae); (B) the viceroy, Limenitis archippus (Nymphalidae), a mimic of D. plexippus; and (C) the black swallowtail, Papilio polyxenes asterius (Papilionidae). [From L. A. Swan and C. S. Papp, 1972, The Common Insects of North America. Copyright 1972 by L. A. Swan and C. S. Papp. Reprinted by permission of Harper & Row Publishers, Inc.]

FIGURE 9.33. Papilionoidea. (A) The monarch butterfly, Danaus plexippus (Nymphalidae); (B) the viceroy, Limenitis archippus (Nymphalidae), a mimic of D. plexippus; and (C) the black swallowtail, Papilio polyxenes asterius (Papilionidae). [From L. A. Swan and C. S. Papp, 1972, The Common Insects of North America. Copyright 1972 by L. A. Swan and C. S. Papp. Reprinted by permission of Harper & Row Publishers, Inc.]

FIGURE 9.34. Bombycoidea. (A) The eastern tent caterpillar, Malacosoma americanum (Lasiocampidae); (B) the promethea moth, Callosamia pmmethea (Saturniidae); and (C) C. promethea larva. [A, C, after W. J. Holland, 1920, The Moth Book, Doubleday and Co. Inc. B, from J. H. Comstock: An Introduction to Entomology, ed. Comstock Publishing Co., Inc.]

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Beekeeping for Beginners

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