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

Adelites Rebel, 1934

(zoological nomenclature: nomen nudum, not available)

General information:

Adelites Rebel, 1934a: 373.
Type: Adelites electreella Rebel, 1934b: 15.

Synonyms, misspellings, wrong determinations, etc.:

Taxonomic note: Adelites Rebel, 1934 has never been formally described. It was erected only to cover fossil members of Adela Latreille, 1796 in the sense of nowadays Adelinae. The name Adelites is therefore available only for the purposes of the principle of homonymy and cannot be used as the valid name of a taxon (art. 20, ICZN 1999).


Description of adults: Examined: Original description of Adelites electreella by Rebel (1934). Forewing length: 7.0 mm. Head large, broad, with erect, hair-like scales on frons; antennae as long as forewing (), filiform, scapus swollen; labial palpi indistinctly recognizeable, probably short; forewings elongate, oval; hindwings pointed; body shining coppery red; spurs of hindtibia short; abdomen of conical, with ovipositor.


So far, Adelites is known only from the Baltic region from amber deposits. Following the Palaebiology Database (2020), this amber dates from the Priabonian period (38.0-33.9 Ma): "According to Aleksandrova and Zaporozhets (2008), the higher parts of the Prussian Formation (including the Blaue Erde or Blue Earth) belong to the Charlesdowniea clathrata angulosa dinocyst Zone. Based on its index species, this zone is concurrent to Zone W13 established in the Parisian basin (Châteauneuf and Gruas-Cavagnetto 1978), where it is correlated with nannoplankton zones NP18–NP21 (Powell, 1992) of the Priabonian. In the Paleogene zonation of northwestern Europe, the first occurrence of Thalassiphora fenestrata is designated at the base of the dinocyst Subzone D12b (36.20 +/- 0.1 Ma), which is correlated with zones NP18 (terminal part)–NP20 of the Priabonian (Luterbacher et al., 2004)."


Computer model of a Baltic amber forest      
Picture from: Kurz Marion
Detailed view

Adelites is an inhabitant of the amber wood biocenosis. In a relatively warm period in the Eocene, the amber wood stretched from Scandinavia to the Ural Mountains in a broad belt. In the south, it was bordered by an ocean, which reached far into eastern Europe and Asia. The wood consisted of coniferous trees to some extent, mainly Pinus succinifera and ancestors of the extant genus Pseudolarix, similar plant associations being present also in North America and throughout temperate Asia (all information retrieved from wikipedia 2010). Gymnosperms and Angiosperms have been plentiful developed already in that wood (e.g. Goeppert & Menge 1883). The climate has been assumed to be mild and wet, the wood itself to be marshy.


Venation. In forewing, all veins free; anal vein with basal loop; in hindwing, M1 and M2 probably on a common stem.


Adelites Rebel, 1934, based on a single female, is not distinguished from Cauchas Zeller, 1839. The latter includes species with antennae being slightly longer or shorter than the forewing, as well as males with filiform antennae or erect scales on the antennae. From Adela Latreille, 1896 and Nemphora Hoffmannsegg, 1798, the genus differs by the short antennae, which do not exceed the forewing length. At least one undescribed fossil Adelid however is distinguished from extand Adelinae by prominent 4-segmented maxillary palpi, a smoothly scaled face, enlarged eyes and serrated antennae of only 5/6 of forewing length.

Phylogeny: Although comparatively short, the antennae are elongated compared to the Incurvarioid ground plan. This character is regarded to be an autapomorphy of Adelidae (Davis 1998). Other autapomorphies are not visible in the fossil specimens, since they concern inner morphology. Further characters supporting the Adelid assignment are 5 free R-branches, with R5 (Rs4) running to costa and the basal fork of A1+A2.

Worth knowing:


Bernstein. In: Wikipedia, Die freie Enzyklopädie. Bearbeitungsstand: 1. Februar 2010, 19:30 UTC. URL: http://de.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Bernstein&oldid=70103709 [visited 4 February 2010, 13:50 UTC].
The Paleobiology Database. URL: https://paleobiodb.org/ [online: 2020.01.03].
Davis, D. R. 1998. The Monotrysian Heteroneura. – 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: 65-90.
Goeppert, H. R. & A. Menge 1883. Die Flora des Bernsteins und ihre Beziehungen zur Flora der Tertiärformation und der Gegenwart. 2 Bde., Commissions-Verlag von Wilh. Engelmann in Leipzig, Danzig.
Kozlov, M. V. 1988. Paleontologiya cheshukerylykh i voprosy filogenii otrayada Papilionida. In: A.G. Ponomarenko (ed.), Melovoy Biotsenoticheskiy Krizis i Evolyutsiya Nasekomykh: 16-69.
Rebel, H. 1934a. Mikrolepidopteren aus dem baltischen Bernstein. Forschungen und Fortschritte, 10 (30): 372–373.
Rebel, H. 1934b. Bernstein-Lepidopteren (aus der Sammlung Bachofen-Echt). Palaeobiologia 6: 1-16, pl. 1.
Rebel, H. [1936]. Bernstein-Lepidopteren. Deutsche Entomologische Zeitschrift Iris 49: 162-186.

Publication data:

Kurz Michael: 2015.11.13
Kurz Michael: 2015.12.09
Kurz Michael: 2019.12.11
Kurz Michael: 2020.01.03
Kurz Michael: 2020.07.30
not reviewed