Fibiger & Lafontaine (2005) separated the group from the concept of Strepsimaniinae set out by Kitching & Rawlins (1998), treating the latter as a distinct, monobasic family. They placed the Hypenodinae within their Erebidae, restricting the group to genera where ocelli are absent. However, Kitching (1984) suggested that loss of ocelli was homoplasious across the Lepidoptera and of no phylogenetic significance. Lafontaine & Fibiger (2006) placed the group as basal in their quadrifine noctuid assemblage.
In the two European genera, Hypenodes Doubleday and Schrankia Hübner, the larvae have segments A1-4 distinctly swollen, and one of the SV setae on A2 is uniquely lost, A1 retaining three setae (Beck, 1999-2000; Fibiger & Lafontaine, 2005). The prolegs on A3 and A4 are reduced or absent. Fibiger & Lafontaine (p. 28) suggested that hypenodine larvae were fungal feeders, though the natural food of Hypenodes humidalis Doubleday and British Schrankia species was indicated as unknown or uncertain by Bretherton et al. (1983). Skinner (1984) stated that British Schrankia fed on a variety of fresh and withered foliage and flowers, and that H. humidalis had been reared on Erica (Ericaceae) in captivity.
The adults of Hypenodes, Schrankia and Luceria Walker all have similar narrow forewings with oblique fasciation, the postmedial angled, in the distal half of the wing. The hindwings are uniform, though may have a discal lunule. The clypeofrons is scaled. The abdomen extends well beyond the hindwings in a spread insect, unlike in core Hypeninae and Herminiinae where any such extension is usually slight. Phragma lobes between the first two tergites are small and well separated, or absent.
The male abdomen has the eighth segment of the framed corematous type though varying in development. The valve in Hypenodes has a single basal harpe, whereas in Schrankia and Luceria there is a series of processes across the valve from the sacculus to the costa (more distal in Luceria).
In the female, the ductus bursae is very long, slender, usually with a distinct sclerotised portion (antrum) at the ostium, which is associated with the eighth segment in all genera. There is usually a scobinate signum in the corpus bursae of Schrankia and a single spine in Luceria, but in Hypenodes there is just general rugosity, and the ductus is relatively short.
Common (1990) included Hydrillodes and Simplicia in his concept of the Hypenodinae, though had indicated on p. 442 that the Herminiinae were not definitely recognised in Australia at the time of writing. Edwards in Nielsen et al. (1996) corrected this assertion, restricting the Australian Hypenodinae to Schrankia, Luceria and Trigonistis Meyrick, though Holloway (1977) considered there was little in common between the last genus and Hypenodes. However, the ocellus in Trigonistis and two related genera occurring in Borneo appears to be absent, so the three genera are included in the Hypenodinae here on the basis of this character.
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