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 rough (above, the face smooth). Antennae long to very long; extending to about 0.8–1 times the length of the forewing. Antennae of males simple; simply-ciliate (the cilia long and fine). The antennal scape with projecting scales; expanded laterally and concave beneath, forming an ‘eye cap’ (this ‘broad’). Chaetosemata absent. Maxillary palps much reduced; not folded. Labial palps well developed; drooping (short, filiform, pointed). Proboscis fully developed.

Wingspan 6–11 mm; 12–14 times the thoracic width. Wings aculeate (strewn with minute spines). Forewings with their apices conspicuously bent up or down when the insect is at rest, or without up- or down-turned apices when the insect is at rest (?); narrow; about 3.8–4.2 times as long as wide. Tornus undetectable. Forewings predominantly shining-metallic (bronzy), or neither shining-metallic nor with shining metallic markings; ground colour predominantly yellow, or light brown to dark brown, or coppery red (ochreous-yellow or bronzy-fuscous). Hindwings narrow-elongate and very long-fringed; linear to linear-lanceolate; very much narrower than the forewings to quite markedly narrower than the forewings; with a pointed apex. The fringe of the hindwings about 4 times the width of the membrane. The upper surfaces plain; with neither discal spot nor transverse lines; hindwings with a frenulum (strong in males, represented by a more distal group of costal spines in females).

Neuration of forewings and hindwings dissimilar. Forewings with well developed neuration to with greatly reduced neuration (veins 3 and 6 absent); 11 veined (lacking veins 3 and 6); with 2 anal veins. The anal veins of the forewings 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. Discal cell of the forewings without a tubular media (M) vein. Forewings with 10 separate veins reaching the margin. Hindwings with greatly reduced neuration (lacking veins 3, 4, 6, and the transverse vein between 2 and 5); 5 veined, or 6 veined; with 1 anal vein, or with 2 anal veins (? - uninterpretable); without a discal cell. The transverse vein incomplete (missing between veins 2–5).

Fore-legs with a tibial epiphysis (?). Tibiae of middle legs 2-spurred. Posterior tibiae 4-spurred; hairy.

Eggs, larvae and pupae. Larval prolegs more or less 0 (the legs vestigial), or 10. Larvae concealed feeders; leaf-mining (in blotch mines, ejecting excrement through a hole in the cuticle).

Pupae concealed (in the mine, with or without a cocoon); above the ground; in leaves. Empty pupae protruded from place of concealment.

British representation. Genera 2 (Emmetia, Tischeria); 6 species.

Classification. Microlepidoptera. Suborder Ditrysia. Superfamily Tischerioidea.

Illustrations. • Tischeria ekebladella (as T. complanella), Emmetia marginea and Emmetia angusticolella: Stainton 3, I (1858). • Stainton 3, I (1858): original legend.. • Tischeria and Emmetia: Stainton (1854). • Emmetia marginea: Stainton (1859). • Stainton's representative 'Tineina'. • Tischeria ekebladella. • Larvae of 'Tineina' (Stainton). • Tischeria ekebladella: 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.’.