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 minusculella (Herrich-Schäffer, 1855)

(zoological nomenclature: valid name, available)

General information:

Nepticula minusculella Herrich-Schäffer, 1855: 348.
Type locality: Poland, Breslau (Wroclaw)
Type: Neotype : Poland, Breslau (Wroclaw), V.[18]57, Pyrus communis, coll. Wocke, in coll. ZIAN.

Synonyms, misspellings, wrong determinations, etc.:
Nepticula chalybeia Braun, 1914: 20. Type locality: USA, Ohio, Cincinnati. Junior subjective synonym.
Nepticula embonella Klimesch, 1978: 259. Type locality: Greece, Rhodos, Embonas. Junior subjective synonym.

brown-tipped pigmy


The species is known so far only from Europe (western, central and eastern to south-eastern parts) and the western USA (Nieukerken 2020). Vertically, it has been recorded from the lowlands and the lower montane zone only (Kurz & Kurz 2020).


The species is mainly found in cultivated landscapes, but inhabits also sunny wood edges and bushland. Larvae have continuously been recorded in central Europe from July to early October, maybe in two overlapping generations. The pupa overwinters. Imagines emerge from April onwards (Kurz & Kurz 2020).

Stages in development:

Mine on Pyrus communis: Salzburg, Flachgau, Thalgau, 2015.09.20, leg. et coll. Michael Kurz      
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view

Egg. The egg is deposited on the underside of a leaf of Pyrus ssp.

Larva. The larva is bright green. Recorded foodplants of the larva are so far Pyrus communis, Pyrus pyraster, Pyrus spinosa (= Pyrus amygdaloides), Pyrus elaeagrifolia and the hybrid between Pyrus communis and Sorbus aria (Ellis 2020, Kurz & Kurz 2020). The mine is a relatively long, contorted gallery, often confluent, especially in its later part, but rarely forming a secondary blotch. The central frass line is black and very slender, in its second part it may become broader, with dispersed or indistinctly coiled frass, but the width of the frass always remains less than one third of the mine width.


From Stigmella pyri (Glitz, 1865), the species is distinguished by the black head (orange in S. pyri) and the lighter ground colour, mostly without violet reflections in the outer part of the forewing. The mine is best distinguished by the frass line, which is much broader in S. pyri, with coiled frass.

Worth knowing:


Ellis, W. N. 2001-2020. Plant Parasites of Europe. Leafminers, galls and fungi. URL: http://bladmineerders.nl/ [online 2020.02.21].
Herrich-Schäffer, G. A. W. 1847–1855 ["1853–1855"]. Systematische Bearbeitung der Schmetterlinge von Europa, zugleich als Text, Revision und Supplement zu Jakob Hübner’s Sammlung europäischer Schmetterlinge. 5. Die Schaben und Federmotten: [1]–2–394 + [1]–2–52, 124 + 7 + 1 pl. Regensburg.
Kurz, M. A. & M. E. Kurz 2000–2020. Naturkundliches Informationssystem. URL: https://www.nkis.info [online 2020.02.21].
Nieukerken, E. J. van 2020. Nepticulidae and Opostegidae of the world. URL: http://nepticuloidea.info/ [online 2020.02.21].

Publication data:

Kurz Michael: 2015.12.02
Kurz Michael: 2020.02.21
not reviewed