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 purpurascens Rebel, [1936]

(zoological nomenclature: valid name, available)

General information:

Adelites purpurascens Rebel [1936]: 184-185.
Type locality: Baltic region, Baltic amber, Prussian, Eocene
Type: Holotype : Baltic region, Baltic amber, Prussian, Eocene, in coll. Bachofen-Echt

Synonyms, misspellings, wrong determinations, etc.:


Description of adults: Examined: Original description (Rebel, [1936]). Forewing length: 6.0 mm. Head with erect, hair-like scales; eyes distinctly enlarged; antennae about 3/4 of forewing length (), filiform; scapus swollen; labial palpi about two times as long as diameter of eye, with indistinctly separated terminal segment; forewings elongate, narrow, pointed at apex, golden with purplish tinge; legs strong, smoothly scaled, distal spurs prominent; abdomen elongate, apically with truncated tuft of hair-like scales.


The species is known only from the holotype in Baltic amber of the Kaliningrad area. 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

The species is a member 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 R veins free; Rs3 preapical, Rs4 postapical.


The species is slighly smaller than Adelites electreella Rebel, 1934 and Adela similis Kozlov, 1987, but has distinctly shorter antennae: antenna/forewing ratio in about 3/4, compared with about 1 in A. electreella () and 1 1/4 in A. similis (also . From Adelites serraticornella Rebel, [1936] and Adelites marionkurziae in litt., the species is readily distinguished by the filiform antennae of the males, which are distinctly serrated by erect scales in both other species. The latter furthermore, is much smaller than all other mentioned species.

Phylogeny: The elongated antennae compared to the incurvarioid ground plan assign the species to Adelidae, the generic placement however is questionable. The type species of Adelites Rebel, 1934, A. electreella is based on a single female only. Therefore, no information is available, whether the antennae in males are serrate or not. Furthermore, the descriptions of neither A. electreella nor of A. purpurascens give any hint on the presence or segmentation of the maxillary palpi, which are 4-segmented at least in A. serraticornella and A. marionkurziae. In the latter two species, Rs4 in the forewing is distinctly preapical, whereas in A. purpurascens, it is postapical. No information is available on the position of Rs4 in A. electreella

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].
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.
The Paleobiology Database. URL: https://paleobiodb.org/ [online: 2020.01.04].
Rebel, H. [1936]. Bernstein-Lepidopteren. Deutsche Entomologische Zeitschrift Iris 49:162-186.

Publication data:

Kurz Michael: 2019.12.11
Kurz Michael: 2020.01.03
Kurz Michael: 2020.01.05
Kurz Michael: 2020.01.06
Kurz Michael: 2020.01.08
Kurz Michael: 2020.01.13
not reviewed