Insects of Britain and Ireland: the families of Lepidoptera

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L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz


Excluding Hieroxestidae = Oinophilidae, Opogonidae. Including Bucculatricidae.

Adults relatively long-bodied; relatively slender-bodied (wingspan more than 15 times the thoracic width) to 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 (at least on the crown). Antennae long to very long; extending to about 0.8–1 times the length of the forewing. Antennae of males simple; non-ciliate. The antennal scape expanded laterally and concave beneath, forming an ‘eye cap’ (usually), or not forming an ‘eye cap’. Ocelli absent. Chaetosemata absent. Maxillary palps much reduced; 1–3 segmented (? - ‘rudimentary’); not folded. Labial palps well developed, or short or rudimentary; drooping, or porrect; 3 segmented. Proboscis fully developed, or absent (‘usually short’); not scaly.

Wingspan (6–)7–10(–12) mm; 10–16 times the thoracic width. Forewings with their apices conspicuously bent up or down when the insect is at rest; narrow; about 3.6–5.7 times as long as wide. Tornus weakly defined to undetectable. Forewings predominantly shining-metallic (e.g., metallic-grey), or exhibiting shining-metallic markings, or neither shining-metallic nor with shining metallic markings. Hindwings narrow-elongate and very long-fringed to neither unusually narrow-elongate nor especially long-fringed; linear to lanceolate; very much narrower than the forewings to quite markedly narrower than the forewings; with a pointed apex. The fringe of the hindwings (1–)3–9 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 with well developed neuration; 7–10 veined; with 1 anal vein, or with 2 anal veins. The anal veins of the forewings representing 1b only (1c then vestigial), or comprising 1b and 1c. Forewings exhibiting a tubular vein 1c, or lacking a tubular vein 1c. Vein 1b of the forewings simple. Forewings with a discal cell. The transverse vein complete, or incomplete. Discal cell of the forewings without a tubular media (M) vein (likewise the hind-wings). Hindwings with greatly reduced neuration; 3–6 veined; seemingly lacking anal veins; lacking vein 1a; seemingly lacking a tubular vein 1c; without a discal cell. The transverse vein lacking. Veins 3, 4 and 6 may be lacking.

Fore-legs with a tibial epiphysis. Tibiae of middle legs 2-spurred. Posterior tibiae 4-spurred; hairy (with long hairs above and below).

Eggs, larvae and pupae. Eggs smooth or minutely pitted (?). Larval prolegs 10. Larvae concealed feeders; leaf-mining (at least when young). Mining leaves of divers Dicot trees, shrubs and herbs.

Pupae concealed (in a cocoon); on the surface of the ground, or above the ground. Empty pupae protruded from place of concealment.

British representation. Genera 5 (Bedellia, Bucculatrix, Leucoptera, Lyonetia, Paraleucoptera); 23 species (1 adventive). Leucoptera labernella (Laburnum Leaf Miner), Leucoptera malifoliella (Pear Leaf Blister Moth), Lyonetia clerkella (Apple Leaf Miner), etc.

Classification. Microlepidoptera. Suborder Ditrysia. Superfamily Yponomeutoidea (recently re-assigned).

Illustrations. • Leucoptera laburnella (specimen): photo. • Stainton's representative 'Tineina'. • Lyonetia clerkella (Autumnal Argyromiges: B. Ent. 284). • Lyonetia clerkella: B. Ent. 284, legend+text. • Lyonetia clerkella: B. Ent. 284, text cont.. • Bucculatrix nigricomella (mainland-European), B. aurimaculella (British form of B. nigricomella), B. cidarella: Stainton 7, I (1862). • Stainton 7, I (1862): original legend.. • Bucculatrix ulmella, B. bechsteinella (as crataegi), B. demaryella: Stainton 7, II (1862). • Stainton 7, II (1862): original legend.. • Bucculatrix maritima, B. gnaphaliella (mainland-European), B. ratisbonensis (mainland-European): Stainton 7, III (1862). • Stainton 7, III (1862): original legend.. • Bucculatrix frangulella, B. thoracella (as hippocastanella), B. cristatella: Stainton 7, IV (1862). • Stainton 7, IV (1862): original legend.. • Leucoptera, Bucculatrix. • Larvae of 'Tineina' (Stainton). • Leucoptera, Bucculatrix: 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.’.