Insects of Britain and Ireland: the families of Lepidoptera


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 (-scaled). Antennae long to very long; extending to about about 1 times the length of the forewing. Antennae of males simple; non-ciliate. The antennal scape without a pecten; expanded laterally and concave beneath, forming an ‘eye cap’, or not forming an ‘eye cap’. Ocelli absent. Chaetosemata absent. Maxillary palps much reduced. Labial palps porrect to ascending (slender). Proboscis fully developed; not scaly.

Wingspan 6–8 mm; 12–13 times the thoracic width. Forewings narrow; about 5.2 times as long as wide. Tornus undetectable. Ground colour predominantly white or cream (shining white). Hindwings narrow-elongate and very long-fringed; linear to linear-lanceolate; very much narrower than the forewings. Hindwing width about 0.25 times that of the forewings. Hindwings with a pointed apex. The fringe of the hindwings about 5 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 greatly reduced neuration (veins 3, 4 and 8 absent); 9 veined, or 10 veined (veins 3, 4 and 8 absent); with 1 anal vein. The anal veins of the forewings representing 1b only. Forewings lacking a tubular vein 1c (this vestigial only). Vein 1b of the forewings simple. Forewings with a discal cell. The transverse vein complete. Discal cell of the forewings without a tubular media (M) vein. Hindwings with greatly reduced neuration; 4 veined; seemingly lacking anal veins; lacking vein 1a; lacking a tubular vein 1c; without a discal cell. The transverse vein lacking. Veins 3 and 4 supposedly absent, and 5+6 stalked.

Fore-legs with a tibial epiphysis. Tibiae of middle legs 2-spurred. Posterior tibiae 4-spurred; not hairy (with a dorsal row of long bristles).

Eggs, larvae and pupae. Larval prolegs 0 (apodal). Larvae concealed feeders; leaf-mining. In leaves of Salix and Populus.

Pupae concealed; above the ground; in leaves (in a cocoon, within the mine). Empty pupae protruded from place of concealment (?).

British representation. Genera 1 (Phyllocnistis); 2 species.

Classification. Microlepidoptera. Suborder Ditrysia. Superfamily Tineoidea.

Comments. The apex of the forewings produced, caudate.

Illustrations. • Pyllocnistis unipunctella.

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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.’.