According to the researchers, the recently discovered family of moths includes only one species, and that is Aenigmatinea glatzella. The strange new moth was found sitting on a single type of pine tree.
The researchers who discovered the new moth are Richard Glatz, an entomologist, and Andy Young, a field worker.
The recent discovery was detailed in the journal Systematic Entomology.
The strange new moth is also known as the “Enigma moth” and researchers describe it as having a pair of wings that are approximately 4mm long, resembling more a caddis fly than any species of moth.
The female of the species is an intense metallic purple and the male is golden in color.
According to the experts, the new species of moth has some strange physical characteristics. For example, the wings and genitalia seem to be primitive, its mouth is smaller than any other moth species, and also, the moth hasn’t got a tongue.
In order to better understand the evolutionary details of the new species of moth, the researchers sent two specimens to Ted Edwards, an expert from the Australian National Insect Collection.
Edwards and his colleague, Douglas Hilton then sent the moths to Neils Kristensen, whom they call the “guru of primitive moth taxonomy”.
Neils Kristensen, an expert from the University of Copenhagen, identified the moth as being part of a new family of moths.
Researchers took DNA samples of the moth and sent it for analysis to Finland.
Moth’s genus name Aenigmatinea was chosen because of the insect’s strange and enigmatic physical characteristics.
According to entomologists, the most primitive species of moths have jaws, which then evolved into tongues.
However, the new species of moth discovered in Australia doesn’t have jaws nor a tongue. It also doesn’t have any hair on its head.
The moth’s name “glatzella” was inspired by the name of the researcher who discovered it, Richard Glatz. Also, “glatze” means “bald head” in German.
The new findings were published online in the in the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation.
Image Source: iflscience