Insects of Britain and Ireland: the families of Lepidoptera

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L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz



Adults relatively long-bodied; medium built (wingspan more than 8 and less than 15 times the thoracic width); wings in repose packed with the forewings directed backwards to cover hindwings and abdomen.

Head smooth. Antennae of medium length to long; extending to about 0.6–0.8 times the length of the forewing; not clubbed. Antennae of males simple; evenly simply-ciliate. The antennal scape with a pecten; not forming an ‘eye cap’. Ocelli absent. Chaetosemata absent. Maxillary palps well developed; 3 segmented; folded. Labial palps well developed; porrect, or ascending (recurved). Proboscis fully developed; not scaly.

Wingspan 8–14 mm; 11–15 times the thoracic width. Forewings narrow; about 3–4.5 times as long as wide. Tornus undetectable. Forewings predominantly shining-metallic (bronzy), or neither shining-metallic nor with shining metallic markings (mostly); ground colour predominantly light brown, or dark brown, or orange-brown, or grey (commonly dark fuscous). Hindwings narrow-elongate and very long-fringed; lanceolate to ovate-lanceolate; quite markedly narrower than the forewings. Hindwing width about 0.6 times that of the forewings. Hindwings with a pointed apex. The fringe of the hindwings (1–)1.5–4 times the width of the membrane. The upper surfaces plain; with neither discal spot nor transverse lines; hindwings with a frenulum.

Neuration of forewings and hindwings dissimilar. Forewings 13 veined; with 2 anal veins. The anal veins of the forewings comprising 1b and 1c. Forewings exhibiting a tubular vein 1c (distally). Vein 1b of the forewings furcate proximally. The transverse vein complete, or incomplete. Forewings with an accessory cell (or at least indicated), or without an accessory cell. Hindwings 7–10 veined; with 3 anal veins, or lacking anal veins. The anal veins of the hindwings when present, comprising 1a, 1b and 1c. Hindwings exhibiting vein 1a, or lacking vein 1a; exhibiting a tubular vein 1c, or lacking a tubular vein 1c. Vein 1b of the hindwings simple. The transverse vein complete, or incomplete. 6 veins arising from the hindwing cell. The cell-derived hindwing veins all arising independently of one another, or 6+7 proximally joined (then these connate or stalked). Vein 8 of the hindwings completely independent of the cell; not approximating to vein 7.

Fore-legs with a tibial epiphysis. Tibiae of middle legs 2-spurred. Posterior tibiae 4-spurred; not hairy (but these and tarsi with generally distributed, stiff bristles).

Eggs, larvae and pupae. Larval prolegs 10. Larvae concealed feeders (when young), or exposed feeders (later); feeding in communal tents (when older), or not feeding in communal tents; not subterranean; leaf-mining (at first), or not leaf-mining (later feeding in a slight web). Nearly all the British species on Umbelliferae.

Pupae exposed, with no coccoon to concealed (in an open network cocoon). Empty pupae not becoming protruded (being unusual in this respect).

British representation. Genera 2; 8 species. Epermenia chaerophyllella, Phaulernis dentella, etc.

Classification. Microlepidoptera. Suborder Ditrysia. Superfamily Epermenioidea.

Illustrations. • Epermenia aequidentellus (as daucellus), E. falciformis (as illigerellus), and (mainland-European) Ochromolopis staintonellus: Stainton 12, III (1870). • Stainton 12, III (1870): original legend.. • Ochromolopis ictella (mainland-European): Stainton 12, IV (1870). • Stainton 12, IV (1870): original legend.. • Epermenia chaerophyllella: Stephens IV, 1834. • Epermenia chaerophyllella: Le Cerf & Herbulot. • Epermenia and Phaulernis: details (Stainton). • Larvae of 'Tineina' (Stainton). • Epermenia chaerophyllella, neuration.

To view the illustrations with detailed captions, go to the interactive key. This also offers full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting or lacking specified attributes, and distributions of character states within any set of taxa.

Cite this publication as: ‘Watson, L., and Dallwitz, M.J. 2003 onwards. Insects of Britain and Ireland: the families of Lepidoptera. Version: 8th June 2016.’.