Yponomeuta etymology

Nieukerken, E.J. van Nieukerken at naturalis.nnm.nl
Wed Sep 20 03:31:43 EDT 2000

Maitland Emmet's splendid book on the scientific names of the British
Lepidoptera gives the answer as to the etymology of Yponomeuta (p. 70):


Yponomeuta Latreille, 1796 - (Greek huponomeuo), to make underground mines.
 name has nothing to do with the habits of the larvae as supposed by
Macleod; Latreille
 expressly states that they are not leaf-miners and feed in a communal web
spun over the
 foodplant. His diagnosis is almost wholly descriptive of the labial palpus
and he may be
 comparing it fancifully to a miner's pickaxe. Fifty years later his
compatriot Guenée was to
 compare the palpus of another genus to a billhook (1273 Dichrorampha,
q.v.). The amend-
 rnent Hyponomeuta Sodoffsky, 1837 is orthographically correct but
inadmissible; Latreille
 would not have pronounced the 'h' himself and so omitted it.

Erik J. van Nieukerken

curator of Entomology (Microlepidoptera + Arachnida et al.)/ 
editor Tijdschrift voor Entomologie

National Museum of Natural History Naturalis
dep. of Entomology
PO Box 9517, 2300 RA Leiden, Netherlands

[street address: Darwinweg 2, 2333 CR Leiden]

direct phone: +31-71-56 87 682 (secretary ..622)
fax:      +31-71-5687666
e-mail:  nieukerken at nnm.nl <mailto:nieukerken at nnm.nl> 

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