Publication of a book on the taxonomy of the 90 Australian genera of olethreutine moths (Tortricidae)

A project undertaken at CSIRO Entomology, Canberra, and supervised by Marianne Horak

The moth subfamily Olethreutinae (Tortricidae) contains numerous fruit and shoot borers of great economic importance, such as macadamia nut borer, oriental fruit moth and codling moth. The group is especially important in tropical horticulture where several native species have recently developed pest status in new fruit crops. Biological and/or integrated pest control is the desired option to deal with horticultural pests, but it presupposes taxonomic knowledge of the pest group and demands identification tools accessible to the applied entomologist.

The Australian olethreutine fauna is derived from Oriental and Papuan stock and there is no recent taxonomic revision of the group anywhere in the region. With the currently available literature, it is impossible to identify most of the 340 named Australian species even to genus without consulting the Australian National Insect Collection. Also, the present outdated classification does not reflect phylogeny and is biologically largely meaningless.

This project is the summary of 10 years of research, partly funded by CSIRO Entomology and several grants from the Australian Biological Resources Studies, and will provide a long overdue text for taxonomists and applied workers on this economically important moth group. The book aims to provide an up-to-date scientific treatment of the 90 Australian genera yet to be user-friendly and accessible to the non-specialist, especially through copious photographic illustrations. It contains a key to genera, generic descriptions of all genera present in Australia, and illustrations of adults, heads, venation, genitalia of both sexes and other diagnostic structures of all genera. Summaries of biology and distribution and a checklist for all named Australian species are given for each genus. Based on the generic revisions the book includes a comprehensive reorganisation of olethreutine classification. The emphasis is on generic characterisation, so that newly found species can be correctly assigned, with the illustrations chosen so that very common and pest species are identifiable. Wherever possible, two species per genus have been illustrated to convey a generic concept. Great care has been taken with the photographic illustrations of adults, genitalia and other diagnostic characters so that they will be user-friendly for non-taxonomists.

The book is being published in 2005 in the acclaimed series 'Monographs on Australian Lepidoptera', by CSIRO Publishing. It will provide the latest knowledge about taxonomy, classification and phylogeny of the very diverse Australian fauna, which will be crucial to an understanding of olethreutine evolution world wide. It will deliver the required identification tools for pest control and quarantine purposes and provide a framework for ecological work with phytophagous insects. Nearly all olethreutine genera present in Australia extend into the Oriental region and beyond, so the book will be relevant to horticultural pests throughout the Oriental region. Hopefully, the book will encourage some amateur lepidopterists in Australia to shift their attention to these smaller moths which still need so much study.

Figure 1. Balbidomaga adult.

Figure 2. Loboschiza adult.

Figure 3. Oxysemaphora adult - final plate for the publication.

Figure 4. Collogenes - final plate for the publication.