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

Stigmella atricapitella (Haworth, 1828)

(zoological nomenclature: valid name, available)

General information:

Tinea atricapitella Haworth, 1828: 585.
Type locality: Great Britain, England, [London]
Type: Syntype : England, [near London], in coll. NHM, London (Nieukerken 2014)

Synonyms, misspellings, wrong determinations, etc.:
Nepticula discrepans Sorhagen, 1922: 41.


. Germany, Bremen : Germany, Bremen    
Picture from: Nieukerken 2014 (CC-BY-NC 3.0)
Detailed view
Picture from: Nieukerken 2014 (CC-BY-NC 3.0)
Detailed view

Description of adults: (Johansson et al. 1990) : "Wingspan 4-6 mm. Head: frontal tuftdark brown to deep black; collar fuscous; scape white; antenna half length of forewing. Thorax shining fuscous. Forewing: shining, dark bronzy-brown, along costa and distal part of wing more or less purplish; terminal cilia continuing along dorsum almost to base of forewing, concolorous with apical area but slightly paler at tips. Hindwing dark grey to fuscous, along costa and dorsum with long black androconial scales extending over cilia to at most two thirds. Abdomen: fuscous with yellowish anal tufts."

: Wingspan 4-6 mm. Head: frontal tuft ochreous to brown, vertex darker, usually black; collar white. Forewing without cilia along basal half of dorsum. Hindwings grey, without androconial scales.


The species is distributed throughout Europe, except Iceland, NE-Europe and parts of the Balkans (Karsholt & Nieukerken 2011). Following Nieukerken (2014), it has a more or less Atlantic-Mediterranean distribution type, becoming rarer or absent in the North, with only very scattered records in southwestern Scandinavia. Furthermore, it is known from Turkey, in the provinces of Adana, Mersin und Agri (in the south and east of the country, see Koçak & Kemal 2009), as well as from Georgia and Azerbaijan in the Caucasus mountains (Nieukerken 2014). The highest altitude so far known is 2400 m in Turkey (Nieukerken 2014).


In most regions, the species is bivoltine, with adults from May to early October and larvae feeding in June-July and September-November (Nieukerken 2014).

Stages in development:

Description of early stages following Nieukerken (2014).

Egg. The egg may be deposited on either side of a leaf.

Larva. The larva is pale yellow or almost white, the prothorax bearing dark coloured sclerites. The larvae feed on Quercus cerris, Q. petraea, Q. pubescens, Q. pyrenaica and Q. robur. The mine is a contorted gallery frequently near the leaf margin and confined to a small area, with the frass usually deposited in a narrow line, which often broadens in the second part. The cocoon is red-brown.


-genitalia -genitalia, aedeagus -genitalia, apophyses -genitalia, bursa copulatrix
Picture from: Nieukerken 2014 (CC-BY-NC 3.0)
Detailed view
Picture from: Nieukerken 2014 (CC-BY-NC 3.0)
Detailed view
Picture from: Nieukerken 2014 (CC-BY-NC 3.0)
Detailed view
Picture from: Nieukerken 2014 (CC-BY-NC 3.0)
Detailed view

genitalia. "Vinculum with wide, shallow to distinct emargination. Uncus small with two long and straight, slightly outward-pointing processes. Gnathos with long horizontal bar and moderately long, blunt horns. Valva short, inner lobe almost rectangular, slightly broader at base; distal process short and broad, tip pointed. Transtilla with long transverse bar and long sublateral processes. Aedeagus approximately 1.2 times length of genital capsule with 15-20 long and strong cornuti and numerous small triangular spines; on right side, near tip 15-20 small cornuti and a very strong chitin-tooth with additioanl spines at base; manica large, densely spined" (Johansson et al. 1990).

genitalia. "Corpus bursae and accessory sac divided and equally large; corpus flimsy and almost invisible; accessory sac with strong spined sclerotization near vestibulum; spines varying from long needle-shaped to very small, triangular. Ductus spermathecae with 5-7 convolutions, usually 6. Tergum VIII with very small and short medial plate. Apophyses strong but relatively short. Tip of ovipositor with medial incision" (Johansson et al. 1990).


"Male very characteristic by black head and long androconials on hindwing, reaching to 2/3 of fringe along most of hindwing. Only rare dark-headed specimens of the evergreen oak miners (only known from S. ilicifoliella) could be confused, but they have usually longer antennae with more segments (30-35 in S. atricapitella, 39-50 in ilicifoliella). Females very similar to S. samiatella and the rarer, uniformly coloured S. basiguttella or trojana. Male genitalia: manica inconspicuous, narrow. Female genitalia: an elongated accessory sac with some more or less sclerotized folds is characteristic; spines of different length, the longer ones on a rounded lobe; ductus spermathecae with 5 convolutions." (Nieukerken 2014).

Worth knowing:


Haworth, A. H. 1828. Lepidoptera Britannica, sistens digestionem novam insectorum lepidopterorum quae in Magna Britannia reperiuntur, lavarum pabulo, temporeque pascendi; expansione alarum; mensibusque volandi; synonymis atque locis observationibusque variis. Part 4. Londini, pp. 513–609.
Johansson, R., E. S. Nielsen, E. J. van Nieukerken & B. Gustafsson 1990. The Nepticulidae and Opostegidae (Lepidoptera) of North West Eurpe. Fauna Entomologica Scandinavica, vol. 23, 2 parts, 739 pp., 1122 [54 col.] figures.
Karsholt, O. & E. J. van Nieukerken 2011. Nepticulidae. In - Karsholt, O. & E. J. van Nieukerken (eds.). Lepidoptera, Moths. – Fauna Europaea version 2.4, http://www.faunaeur.org [online 2014.02.24].
Koçak, A. Ö. & M. Kemal 2009. Revised Checklist of the Lepidoptera of Turkey. Priamus, supplement 17: 1-253.
Nieukerken, E. J. van 2014: Nepticulidae and Opostegidae of the world. - URL: http://nepticuloidea.info/ [online 2014.03.19].

Publication data:

Kurz Michael: 2014.03.21
Kurz Michael: 2016.03.15
Kurz Michael: 2016.10.26
not reviewed