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

Electrocrania Kusnezov, 1941

(zoological nomenclature: valid name, available)

General information:

Electrocrania Kuznezov, 1941: 19.
Type: Electrocrania immensipalpa Kusnezov, 1941 (by original designation)

Synonyms, misspellings, wrong determinations, etc.:
Electrocrania was synonymized with Micropterix Hübner, 1825 by Kozlov (1988) on the basis of the preapical position of vein R5 in the forewing. The finding of Electrocrania michalskii Kurz 2015 has shown however, that it is a genus of its own, that has to be placed in Micropterigidae (Kurz 2015).


E. michalskii : Baltic region, Baltic amber, Eocene, Lutetian, in coll. Michael Kurz      
Picture from: www.ebay.at: © Michalski Artur (vermiculosis)
Detailed view

Description of adults (Kurz 2015): "Head with erect, hair-like scales; ocelli present; maxillary palpus prominent, 5-segmented; labial palpus small, probably 2-segmented; pedicellus swollen, flagellum very thick, with conspicuously long branched ascoid sensillae (ciliated in the sense of Kusnezov); forewing with Sc and R1 unforked, R5 preapical or apical; spur formula 0-0-4; midtibia without spurs, but with fine bristles at distal end (= mesotibial spur as described by Kusnezov)."


The genus is represented by two specimens of two different species from Baltic amber.


Wing venation: Fig. 2 and 3: Electrocrania immensipalpa, different interpretations of the wing venation.
Fig. 4, A: Eriocrania subpurpurella Hw.,
B: "Sabatinca" perveta Cockerell,
C: Micropterix tunbergella F.,
D: Mnesarchaea hamadelpha Meyr.,
E: Sabatinca sp.
Picture from: © Kuznezov 1941
Detailed view

Phylogeny: "The following apomorphies support placement of Electrocrania in the Micropterigidae (Kristensen 1998): 1) Presence of ascoid sensillae on the antennae (present in both species, if the ciliation mentioned by Kusnezov is interpreted in that way); 2) the swollen pedicel (present in both species); 3) the greatly shortened labial palpus (present in both species); 4) the absence of spurs on the midtibia (spur formula 0-0-4: present in both species, if the single spur mentioned by Kusnezov is interpreted as bristle, like in E. michalskii.
From all other Micropterigidae, except for an undescribed species from New Caledonia (Kristensen 1998), Electrocrania is distinguished by the unforked vein Sc of the forewing (a proposed apomorphy of Electrocrania). Despite various interpretations of the venation in the type species of Electrocrania, E. immensipalpa, which indicate 6 or 7 veins reaching the costa and 4–7 postapical veins, this character is explicitely stated by Kusnezov in the description and also shown in his figure 2. In fig. 1, Kusnezov draws seven veins reaching the costa. The forking of Sc, suggested in this drawing, is very unlikely, since Sc2 is drawn in the position of the R-stem, with the fork to Sc1 (not shown) close to the wing basis and the arms reaching the costa at about 2/5 and 1/2, whereas normally these arms reach the costa at approximately 1/4 and 1/2 of the forewing length. The proposed forking of R1 is very short and, like the proposed fusion of R4 with R5, is not observed in any other micropterigid moth in that form. Following Gibbs et al. (2004), Micropterigidae can be divided in five different lineages on the basis of DNA investigations of the 16S rRNA gene. From the Micropterix lineage, Electrocrania is readily separated by the structure of the male genitalia, which do not bear appendages on the costal margin. From the Australian group and Sabatinca s. str., Electrocrania is distinguished by the unforked R1 of the forewing and by the hindwing venation, where Sc and R are not coalescent. A pair of abdominal glands is usually present on sternum V in both sexes of Micropterigidae. The gland orifice however differs markedly between the Northern and the Southern Hemisphere genera, being a narrow slit in the former only and being absent in Micropterix and Hypomartyria (Kristensen 1984, Hashimoto 2006). In the Southern Hemisphere genera, however, it is well developed. Gland ducts in the sternum V of the abdomen are not discernible in Electrocrania, although the presence of a narrow slit cannot be excluded with certainty. Therefore, the genus cannot be placed among the Southern Hemisphere genera. The very thick antennae and the long branches of the ascoid sensillae are reminiscent however of genera like Epimartyria (North America) or Paramartyria (Japan). Despite the apical position of R5 in the forewing (a synapomorphy or a parallelism with Micropterix) and the unforked Sc (an assumed autapomorphy of Electrocrania), Electrocrania is placed in the Northern Hemisphere genera, the latter maybe being the sister group of Micropterix" (Kurz 2015).

Worth knowing:


Gibbs, G.W., Kobayashi, J., Suzuki, H., Hashimoto, S., Lees, D.C., Sugimoto, M. & Saigusa, T. 2004. Molecular phylogeny of Micropterigidae (Lepidoptera). Proceedings of the XXII International Congress of Entomology, Brisbane, poster and abstract.
Hashimoto, S. 2006. A taxonomic study of the family Micropterigidae (Lepidoptera, Micropterigoidea) of Japan, with the phylogenetic relationships among the Northern Hemisphere genera. Bulletin of the Kitakyushu Museum of Natural History and Human History, ser. A (Natural History) 4, 39–109.
Kozlov, M. V. 1988. Paleontology of lepidopterans and problems in the phylogeny of the order Papilionida. - In: Ponomarenko, A. G. (ed.), The Cretaceous Biocoenotic Crisis in the Evolution of Insects: Moscow, Nauka Press, p. 16-69 (in Russian).
Kristensen, N.P 1984. The pregenital abdomen of the Zeugloptera (Lepidoptera). Steenstrupia 10, 113–136.
Kristensen, N. P. 1998. The non-glossatan moths: 41–49. – In: N. P. Kristensen (ed.), Lepidoptera, Moths and Butterflies. Vol. 1: Evolution, systematics, and biogeography. – In: M. Fischer (ed.), Handbook of Zoology. Vol. IV Arthropoda: Insecta, Part 35. – Walter De Gruyter, Berlin and New York.
Kurz, M. A. 2015. On the systematic position of Electrocrania Kusnezov, 1941 with the description of a new species from Baltic amber (Lepidoptera: Micropterigidae). Zootaxa 4044 (3): 446-450.
Kuznezov, N. J. 1941. A Revision of the Amber Lepidoptera. [In Russian, with English descriptions.] 136 pp., 31 fig. Moscow, Leningrad.

Publication data:

Kurz Michael: 2010.01.29
Kurz Michael: 2010.11.10
Kurz Michael: 2011.09.20
Kurz Michael: 2011.11.19
Kurz Michael: 2011.11.27
Kurz Michael: 2011.11.28
Kurz Michael: 2016.05.20
Kurz Michael: 2016.06.24
Kurz Michael: 2016.06.27
Document reviewed by:
not reviewed: 2016.06.27
Document released by:
Kurz Michael: 2016.06.27