Sitochroa palealis, Crete - photo © K. Bormpoudaki

Sitochroa palealis, Crete - photo © K. Bormpoudaki

The Family Crambidae (Crambid Snout Moths)

The Family Crambidae

The family Crambidae (Grass moths) is a large family of Lepidoptera with various subfamilies, which are diverse and variable in morphology and biology. For example, moths of the subfamily Crambinae, keep their wings closely folded to the body and rest on stems of grass where they are inconspicuous; other subfamilies include brightly colored moths and geometric patterns.

More than 11,500 species have been described worldwide in over 1,000 genera. The Crambidae belong to the Superfamily Pyraloidea and in many classifications, the Crambidae have been treated as a subfamily of the Pyralidae. The main difference is praecinctorium, a structure in the ears that joins two tympanic membranes in the Crambidae, and is absent in Pyralidae.

Crambid caterpillars are concealed feeders with a great diversity in feeding habits, shelter building, and hosts. They are generally cylindrical, with a semiprognathous head and only primary setae. They are often plainly colored but can be patterned with longitudinal stripes and pinacula that may give them a spotted appearance. Prolegs may be reduced in borers.

Crambid larvae are typically stem borers in plants of the grass family. Since Crambidae is relatively common in all human settlements, these moths tend to affect crops and gardens, in a harmful, beneficial, or harmless way.

The following species are representative species of the Crambidae moths that have been photographed on the island of Crete. You can obtain more information about each species, by selecting the relative species icon. The list of Crambidae species is nondefinitive.

List of Crambidae species in Crete