Notable plesiomorphies and notable specializations: Head structure of the primitive "tongue moth" Acanthopteroctetes unifascia (lepidoptera: Acanthopteroctetidae)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The Acanthopteroctetidae are one of the first-originated family-group lineages within "tongue moths" (Lepidoptera-Glossata). The purpose of this study is to provide a comprehensive account (based on whole mount preparations, serial sections, and Scanning electron microscopy) of the cephalic structure of an adult exemplar of the family, to supplement the sparse available information. Notable plesiomorphies include the retention of frontal retractors of the narrow labrum, a high supraocular index linked to strong development of cranio-mandibular ad- and abductors, and perhaps the unusually short but still coilable (just ca. 1.5 turns) galeal "tongue." Notable specializations (probably mostly family autapomorphies) include a complement of large sensilla placodea on the male antennae, an apical attachment of the long dorsal tentorial arm to the cranium, an extreme reduction of the single-segmented labial palps, a particularly strong subgenal bridge and a surface structure of near-parallel ridges on the ommatidial corneae. The presence of sizable saccular mandibular (type 1) glands opening into the adductor apodeme is unexpected, no counterparts being known from neighboring taxa. The same is true for ventral salivarium dilator muscles originating on the prelabium; and tentatively suggested to be homologues of the extrinsic palp flexors (the insertion shift being related to loss of original function due to palp reduction), rather than to the ventral salivarium muscles of more basal insects. A complete "deutocerebral loop"' may or may not be developed, as is true for a mutual appression of the optic lobe and circumoesophageal connective/suboesophageal ganglion, enclosing the anterior tentorial arm between them; a suboesophageal innervation of the retrocerebral complex was not observed. No characters bearing on the monophyly of the Coelolepida were identified. The scapo-pedicellar articulation with a scapal process and a smooth intercalary sclerite is reminiscent of conditions in Neopseustidae, but remains debatable as a synapomorphy of the two families. J. Morphol. 275:153-172, 2014.


External organisations
  • University of Turku
  • University of Copenhagen
  • University of Bremen
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Zoology


  • Corneal ridges, Labial regression, Labrum, Mandibular glands, Ommatidium, Phylogeny, Proboscis, Salivarium, Scapo-pedicellar articulation, Tentorium
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-172
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Morphology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Feb
Publication categoryResearch
Externally publishedYes