The Crambidae are the grass moth family of Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths). They are quite variable in appearance, the nominal subfamily Crambinae (grass moths) taking up closely folded postures on grass stems where they are inconspicuous, while other subfamilies include brightly coloured and patterned insects which rest in wing-spread attitudes.

In many classifications, the Crambidae have been treated as a subfamily of the Pyralidae or snout-moths. The principal difference is a structure in the ears called the praecinctorium, which joins two tympanic membranes in the Crambidae, and is absent from the Pyralidae. The latest review by Munroe and Solis, in Kristensen (1999), retains the Crambidae as a full family.

Interactions with Humans

Since crambids are relatively common throughout human settlements, the moths tend to affect crops and gardens, whether harmfully, beneficially or harmlessly.

Beneficial crambids

Harmless crambids

Harmful crambids

Crambid larvae are typically stem borers in plants of the grass family. As this family contains many important crops, some Crambidae species achieve pest status. The European corn borer Ostrinia nubilalis is perhaps the best known - introduced to the United States in the early 1900s, it is now widespread in all but the westernmost states. Other pest species include:



  1. 1 2 Regier, J. C., C. Mitter, M. A. Solis, J. E. Hayden, B. Landry, M. Nuss, T. J. Simonsen, S.-H. Yen , A. Zwick & M. P. Cummings 2012: A molecular phylogeny for the pyraloid moths (Lepidoptera: Pyraloidea) and its implications for higher-level classification. – Systematic Entomology, London 37 (4): 635–656.
  2. Minet, J. 2015: Lathrotelidae Clarke, 1971: a rehabilitated name deserving subfamily rank (Lepidoptera, Crambidae). – Bulletin de la Société entomologique de France, Paris 120 (1): 109–112.
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Kristensen, N.P. (Ed.). 1999. Lepidoptera, Moths and Butterflies. Volume 1: Evolution, Systematics, and Biogeography. Handbuch der Zoologie. Eine Naturgeschichte der Stämme des Tierreiches / Handbook of Zoology. A Natural History of the phyla of the Animal Kingdom. Band / Volume IV Arthropoda: Insecta Teilband / Part 35: 491 pp. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin, New York.

See also

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