The Thyrididae comprise about 1000 species of small to medium-sized moths(wingspan 12-72 mm; Common 1990) found mainly in lowland forests of the tropics and subtropics (Dugdale et al. 1999). The adults are nocturnal, and come readily to lights. They typically rest in a distinctive posture, with the front of the body raised high off the substrate and the wings outstretched, as in these pictures from jp.moths. Thyridids have a general resemblance to Pyraloidea, and in previous classifications were often included in that superfamily. However, they lack the abdominal tympanal organs, and the scaling at the base of the proboscis, that characterize pyraloids.
The wings (Dugdale et al. 1999) are most often broad and cryptically colored, often red or brown, sometimes with translucent spots or patches. The markings are often similar between hind and fore wings, and between upper and lower sides of the wings, as in many species of Banisia.
Thyrididae are currently divided into four subfamilies, as follows (Dugdale et al. 1999).
The Striglinae, consisting of about 200 species, are found throughout the tropics. Among the largest genera are Banisia (see above) and Striglina.
The Thyridinae include about 115 species. Many of these are stout-bodied, typically-patterned moths in the genus Dysodia. A few thyridines, however, such as the palearctic genus Thyris, have slender, narrow-winged, brightly colored, day-flying adults. Some such species may be aposematic (warningly-colored) and distasteful, e.g. the Oriental Asian Glanychus insolitus, pictured here.
Microsca paullula The Siculodinae are the largest subfamily, with over 400 species divided into three tribes, Siculodini, Argyrotiypini and Rhodneurini (Dugdale et al. 1999). Among the included genera are Microsca, pictured here, and Rhodoneura.
The Charideinae were moved to Thyrididae by Minet (1991) from their former placement in Zygaenidae. They comprise 20 species of narrow-winged, day-flying Afrotropical moths, with bright metallic colors as in this picture of Arniocera auriguttata (click on thumbnail to get larger image).
The larvae of Thyrididae are concealed feeders. Some live inside stems, while others construct shelters of rolled leaves, as illustrated by this Dysodia species and this Rhodoneura (scroll to bottom of jpmoth image page). No synthesis for thyridid hostplant use has yet been attempted, but both the family and some individual species use a tremendous range of angiosperm families and higher clades; see Janzen, D. H. and Hallwachs, W. 2009. Dynamic database for an inventory of the macrocaterpillar fauna, and its food plants and parasitoids, of Area de Conservacion Guanacaste (ACG), northwestern Costa Rica (nn-SRNP-nnnnn voucher codes) .
Phylogenetic relationships within Thyrididae have been little studied. The relationships among the subfamilies are not known, and the Siculodinae may not be monophyletic (Dugdale et al. 1999). In a recent molecular study (Regier, Zwick et al. 2009) that included one representative of each subfamily except Charideinae, the thyridine and the strigiline were grouped to the exclusion of the siculodine. However, support for this conclusion was not strong.
In the first molecular study bearing on the phylogenetic position of Thyrididae (Regier, Zwick et al. 2009), the thyridids are never placed close to the Pyraloidea, corroborating Minet's (1991) assertion that they do not belong in or with that superfamily. No position for thyridids is strongly supported, but they most often group with a subset of superfamilies that includes Gelechioidea, Pterophoroidea, Alucitoidea and Calliduloidea.
Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats Specimen Records:3538 Specimens with Sequences:3268 Specimens with Barcodes:3128 Species:247 Species With Barcodes:235 Public Records:1578 Public Species:148 Public BINs:155
The Thyrididae comprise the family of picture-winged leaf moths. They are the only family in the superfamily Thyridoidea, which sometimes has been included in the Pyraloidea, but this is not supported by cladistic analysis.
Glanycus coendersi, one of the aposematically coloured day-flying species of Thyrididae
Most species live in the tropics and subtropics. There are 4 subfamilies. Their biology is little known. Thyridid specimens are rare in museum collections.