N A T U R K U N D L I C H E S   I N F O R M A T I O N S S Y S T E M

Micropterix islamella Amsel, 1935

(zoological nomenclature: valid name, available)

General information:

Micropteryx islamella Amsel, 1935: 276–277.
Type locality: Type locality: Israel, near Jerusalem, Kirjat [Kiriath] Anavim
Type: Holotype : probably lost or destroyed in coll. SMNK (Kaltenbach in litt.). 1 Paratype : “Kirjat [Kiriath] Anavim”. Examined by J. Heath. In coll. UMB. (Heath, unpublished manuscript).

Synonyms, misspellings, wrong determinations, etc.:


Picture from: © Zeller et al. 2009
Detailed view

Scheme of wing pattern:

Description of adults: Examined: 8 , 2 . Forewing length: 2,8 - 3,5 mm; 3,2 - 3,6 mm. Head black-brown, vestiture of hair-like scales on the head rusty yellow; antennae dark brown, bronze golden shining, 5/6 (), respectively, 4/7 () of forewing length; thorax golden; tegulae bluish to violet; forewings violet to reddish violet, with coppery golden and golden markings: a bronzy golden fascia across the whole wing width at 1/5, from the tegulae to this fascia two small bronzy golden lines, one along the inner margin, the other directly in the middle of the wing; a golden fascia across the whole wing width in the middle, slightly bent outwards and bronzy golden bordered, sometimes interrupted in the middle; at 3/4 a trapezoid golden spot inwardly oblique and reaching the middle of the wing, also bronzy golden bordered; from this spot following the costa to the apex a narrow bronzy golden band recurrent along the tergal margin and broadening towards the spot; fringe bronzy golden; hindwings bronzy golden with purplish tinge and bronzy golden fringe; legs and abdomen dark brown, bright golden shining.


The species is known only from Israel (near Jerusalem and Mount Carmel) and from Lebanon (near Beirut and Aïn Jouaik [?Nabaa Jouaik, 70 km northeast of Beirut (Amsel 1933, 1935; Kurz et al. 2000–2009; Heath, unpublished manuscript). All investigated specimens have been caught at low altitudes (30 - 190 m, see Kurz et al. 2010)


The moth feeding on pollen of Mercurialis annua: Israel, Mt. Carmel, Yokneam, 180 m, 2006.03.18      
Picture from: © Schwartz-Tzachor Rachel
Detailed view

M. islamella was found in a forest of Pinus brutia Ten. (Pinaceae), feeding on pollen of Mercurialis annua L. (Euphorbiaceae), and at one locality occurring syntopically with Micropterix elegans Stainton, 1867 (Zeller et al., 2009). A.S. Talhouk found this species abundantly on "peach" (Heath, unpublished manuscript). The imagines have been found on the wing in March.

Stages in development:

The early stages are unknow.


-genitalia, prep.-no. 1061, M. Kurz: Lebanon, Kesrouan, Jebel Musa, Mar Geryes, 950m, 2012.05.25, leg. Kuhlberg, Jaakko, T. Lievonen, coll. MZH      
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view

Genitalia. Uncus very long, slender, distally somewhat broadened with some hair-like setae, forming a separate, clearly distinguishable unit with accessory claspers; between the uncus and the accessory claspers additional triangular-shaped lobes, more weakly sclerotized and only the distal tip visible; accessory claspers moderately developed and distally trapezoid shaped, distally with long, thickened setae, which have sickle-shaped ends, pointing caudally; valvae moderately long, stout, constricted medially, the distal ends golf club-like, enlarged and bent upwards; distal fourth at the inner surface bearing 10 to 15 thickened straight, spinoid setae, clustered at the outer margin of the bend of the valvae.


M. islamella can easily be distinguished from all other species within its distribution range by the purple ground coloration of the forewings and more golden and diffuse spots and fasciae. All other known species from that region are bronzy golden to coppery with distinct silvery spots and fasciae.

Phylogeny: Based on the structure of the male genitalia, M. islamella forms a characteristic species complex together with Micropterix montanella Zagulajev, 1983 from the Caucasus and Micropterix granatensis Heath, 1981 from southern Spain and Northern Africa. An apomorphy of this complex seem to be the ventralwards bent accessory claspers and the elongation of the uncus (the latter character being a parallelism to other species-complexes). On the other hand, the subdivision of the whole apparatus in two compartments, consisting of uncus, tegumen and accessory claspers on the one hand and vinculum and valves on the other hand, as well as the relatively short and stout valves are regarded to be plesiomorphic, placing this species-complex among the most primitive members of the genus.

Worth knowing:


Amsel, H.G. 1935. Weitere Mitteilungen über palästinische Lepidopteren. Veröffentlichungen des Deutschen Kolonial- und Überseemuseum. Berlin. 1 (2), 276-277.
Kurz, M. A., M. E. Kurz & H. C. Zeller-Lukashort 2000–2010. Naturkundliches Informationssystem. – URL: http://www.nkis.info [online 09 April 2009].
Zeller-Lukashort, H. C., M. A. Kurz, D. C. Lees & R. Schwartz-Tzachor 2009. Micropterix of Cyprus and the Middle East (Micropterigidae). Nota lepidopterologica 32 (2): 129-138.

Publication data:

Kurz Michael: 2006.03.30
Zeller Christof: 2009.02.07
Zeller Christof: 2009.02.08
Zeller Christof: 2009.02.15
Kurz Michael: 2010.04.09
Kurz Michael: 2015.10.29
not reviewed