Insects of Britain and Ireland: the families of Lepidoptera


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 of medium length to long; extending to about 0.6–0.9 times the length of the forewing. Antennae of males simple (moniliform); non-ciliate. Ocelli present (two). Chaetosemata absent (?). Mandibles developed and functional. Maxillary palps well developed; 5 segmented; folded. Labial palps well developed, or short or rudimentary; when developed, porrect; 2–4 segmented. Proboscis absent (absent).

Wingspan 7–9 mm; 12–14 times the thoracic width. Wings aculeate (strewn with minute spines). Forewings narrow to broad; about 2.5–4 times as long as wide. Tornus weakly defined to undetectable. The outer margin convexly curved; forewings apically blunt; forewings predominantly shining-metallic (bronzy), or predominantly shining-metallic and exhibiting shining-metallic markings; ground colour predominantly bronzy-golden or bronzy-grey; forewings without eye-spots above; forewings with a jugum. Hindwings narrow-elongate and very long-fringed to neither unusually narrow-elongate nor especially long-fringed; ovate-lanceolate; quite markedly narrower than the forewings; with a pointed apex to with a rounded apex; not tailed; the upper surfaces plain; with neither discal spot nor transverse lines; with a frenulum, or without a frenulum.

Neuration of forewings and hindwings similar (and characteristically with cross-veins linking the main veins). Forewings 11–14 veined; apparently with 2 anal veins (the interpretation of neuration being difficult). The anal veins of the forewings seemingly comprising 1b and 1c. Forewings 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 without spurs (but with terminal spines). Posterior tibiae 4-spurred.

Eggs, larvae and pupae. Eggs with projections (blunt-spined). Larval prolegs 10. Larvae exposed feeders (on liverworts, in damp places, or possibly detritus-feeders).

Pupae concealed (in a strong, parchment-like oval cocoon). Empty pupae protruded from place of concealment.

British representation. Genera 1 (Micropterix); 5 species. Micropterix calthella, etc.

Classification. Microlepidoptera. Suborder Zeugloptera. Superfamily Micropterigoidea.

Comments. The moths commonly gathering on flowers, such as buttercups, feeding on the pollen.

Illustrations. • Micropterix calthella (Marsh Marigold Moth): B. Ent. 751. • Micropterix calthella: B. Ent. 751, legend+text. • Micropteryx calthella: imago and neuration. • Micropterix calthella: B. Ent. 751, legend+text. • Eriocrania and Micropteryx. • Micropteryx aruncella: Kirby 55. • Micropteryx aureatella: Stephens IV, 1834.

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.’.