The Epipyropidae are a small family of which the species are probably
all ectoparasitic on Homoptera. Indeed, the family at present appears best
defined by this unusual biology. The world fauna (and host range) was reviewed
by Krampl & Dlabola (1983), a total of 32 described species. Most regions of
the world support species but the family is perhaps best known from the Indian
Subregion and Australia.
The family is suggested to be related to the Neotropical Dalceridae in
Krampl & Dlabola, though Brock (1971) placed the Epipyropidae in the
Tineoidea and the Dalceridae in the Cossoidea. Common (1970) placed both
families in the Zygaenoidea.
Krampl & Dlabola did not list any species from the Sundanian area
but one specimen, perhaps in the genus Epieurybrachys Kato, has been
taken in Brunei by T.W. Harman. It is illustrated below . Further specimens
are known from Sulawesi; they key out to Epiricania Kato in the only
published key, relying entirely on wing venation (Kato 1940).
The antennae are bipectinate in both sexes; ocelli, chaetosemata,
maxillary palps and haustellum are all absent (Common 1970). The forewing veins
in all genera except Agamopsyche Perkins arise directly from the cell.
The family has been divided into two subfamilies on the basis of presence or
absence of vein R3 in the forewing (Kato 1940), an unsatisfactory
system as one of the character states must be plesiomorphic. Krampl &
Dlabola surveyed the male genitalia of some of the taxa and indicated that there
was some uniformity of basic construction within the family.
The eggs are disc.like (Common 1970). Kato (1940) described the larva of
the Japanese Epiricania hagoromo Kato. In the full-grown larva the head
is extremely small and retractile. The upper surface and margin of the ovate,
flattened body is covered with a waxy secretion that is shed between the
formation of a silken pad and the resumption of spinning the complete cocoon at
pupation. The thoracic legs are small, with a sharp claw. The abdominal prolegs
have a circlet of 16-20 minute crochets. The hooks and crochets enable the larva
to cling to the flying or jumping host, onto the dorsal surface of which it has
spun silken threads.
The cocoon is oblong with a convex surface dorsally and an anterior
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