Insects of Britain and Ireland: the families of Lepidoptera

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L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz


Adults diurnal; 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 rough (-haired). Antennae very short to of medium length; extending to about 0.4–0.6 times the length of the forewing. Antennae of males simple (filiform); non-ciliate. Ocelli present, or absent. Chaetosemata absent (?). Mandibles developed and functional (according to Britton et al., though absent according to Meyrick). Maxillary palps well developed; 5 segmented; folded. Labial palps moderately well developed; porrect; 3 segmented, or 4 segmented. Proboscis fully developed (short).

Wingspan 9–12(–15) mm; 12–14 times the thoracic width. Wings aculeate (strewn with minute spines). Forewings narrow; about 2.6–3.2 times as long as wide. Tornus weakly defined to undetectable. The outer margin convexly curved; forewings apically blunt; forewings predominantly shining-metallic, or predominantly shining-metallic and exhibiting shining-metallic markings; ground colour predominantly bronzy-purple, shining-golden, or bronzy-golden; forewings with a jugum. Hindwings ovate-lanceolate to ovate (elongate ovate); similar in breadth to the forewings; with a pointed apex to with a rounded apex; the upper surfaces plain; with neither discal spot nor transverse lines; without a frenulum.

Neuration of forewings and hindwings similar (and characteristically with cross-veins linking the main veins). Forewings 11–15 veined; with 1 anal vein, or with 2 anal veins, or with 3 anal veins (? - the interpretation of neuration being difficult, and the works consulted in conflict); supposedly exhibiting a tubular vein 1c. The transverse vein incomplete. Discal cell of the forewings containing a tubular media (M) vein. Hindwings 11–14 veined; seemingly with 2 anal veins. The anal veins of the hindwings theoretically comprising 1b and 1c. Hindwings supposedly lacking vein 1a; supposedly exhibiting a tubular vein 1c; with a discal cell. The transverse vein incomplete. The hindwing cell emitting more than six veins. Vein 8 of the hindwings completely independent of the cell (?).

Adults having all 6 legs fully developed and operational for walking. Fore-legs of female operational for walking. Fore-legs with a tibial epiphysis, or without a tibial epiphysis. Tibiae of middle legs 1-spurred, or 4-spurred. Posterior tibiae without spurs, or 2-spurred, or 4-spurred.

Eggs, larvae and pupae. Eggs not flattened (rounded-cylindrical). Larval prolegs 0 (larva apodous). Larvae concealed feeders; leaf-mining (forming galleries and blotch mines).

Pupae concealed (in a silk cocoon, in soil); subterranean to on the surface of the ground. Empty pupae protruded from place of concealment.

British representation. Genera 1 (Eriocrania); 8 species. Eriocrania semipurpurella, etc.

Classification. Microlepidoptera. Suborder Zeugloptera. Superfamily Eriocranioidea.

Illustrations. • Eriocrania subpurpurella, E. unimaculella, E. salopiella: Stainton 13, III (1873). • Stainton 13, III (1873): original legend.. • Eriocrania and Micropteryx. • Dyseriocrania subpurpurella: imago and neuration. • Stainton's representative 'Tineina'.

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.’.