Scientists Find New Family of Primitive Moths on Kangaroo Island

Scientists reported finding a family of primitive moths on Kangaroo Island off the coast of Australia. The moths are so different from other moths that they not only get their own genus (Aenigmatinea), but they also get their own family, Aenigmatineidae.

Scientists have described the moths (Aenigmatinea glatzella) as being like a “living dinosaur.” They live on Southern Cypress-pine trees, which are themselves extremely ancient.

The adult moths are 1 cm (.4 in). Their wings have feathery fringes on the edges. They also have purple and gold scales. People at Anastasia Date have heard that the moths have a life span comparable to a mayfly’s. They emerge from their cocoons, mate, lay eggs and die — all in one day.

According to the scientists, this is the first time since the 1970’s that a species of primitive moth has been found anywhere in the world. They also note that the new moth’s DNA has helped scientists learn about the evolutionary relationships between families or primitive moths. The scientists’ research also suggests that tongues evolved several times in moths and butterflies.

The researchers reported their findings in the journal Systemic Entomology.