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 betulicola (Stainton, 1856)

(zoological nomenclature: valid name, available)

General information:

Nepticula betulicola Stainton, 1856: 42.
Type locality: Great Britain, [Headley Lane]
Type: Lectotype , Great Britain, [Headley Lane] (Douglas), in coll. Walsingham (NHM, London).

Synonyms, misspellings, wrong determinations, etc.:
Nepticula betulicolella Doubleday, 1859: 36. Unjustified emendation.
Nepticula betulicola var. nanivora W. Petersen, 1930: 61. Type locality: Estonia. Junior subjective synonym.


: schematic      
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view

Description of adults: (Johansson et al. 1990) : "Wingspan 3.4-4.6 mm. Head: frontal tuft pale to ochreous yellow, often mixed with fuscous; collar pale yellowish to lead grey; scape white, usually edged with lead grey; antenna approximately as long as half length of forewing. Forewing: area proximal to fascia bronzy fuscous with faint purple tinge; fascia normally postmedial; fascia whitish, sometimes yellowish white or faintly metallic; fascia sometimes very broad; distal to fascia dark purple fuscous; terminal cilia concolorous but paler at tips; Hindwing: pale greyish brown. Abdomen: brownish black, sometimes with purple tinge."

: "Wingspan 4.0-4.6 mm. Head: frontal tuft yellowish white to ochreous yellow or yellowish orange; collar white or yellowish white; scape white or yellowish white, usually with lead grey edge; antenna slightly less than or as long as half length of forewing. Otherwise similar to male."


Following Nieukerken (2016), the species is found in most of Europe (except Iceland, the Iberian Peninsula and most of the Balkan Peninsula), east to the eastern part of the Palearctic region (Amur territory and Japan), although we do not have any records from most of Siberia.


Adults are on wing in two generations per year in May and again in August (Nieukerken 2016). In northern Scandinavia, the species is univoltine (Johansson et al. 1990).

Stages in development:

Mine on Betula pendula: Salzburg, Pongau, Radstadt, way up the Roßbrand, 2011.10.01      
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view

Egg. The egg is laid on the lower surface of a leaf, close to a rib (Johansson et al. 1990).

Larva. The larva is bright yellow with green intestine, conspicious ganglia and small brown spots on prothorax (Johansson et al. 1990). "The larvae feed on Betula species, including Betula pubescens, Betula pendula, Betula humilis and Betula nana. They mine the leaves of their host. The mine is short, with frass irregular, linear. There are often several mines in a leaf. The mines are found frequently on seedlings and small plants." (Nieukerken 2016). The cocoon ist leatherbrown to red-brown (Johansson et al. 1990).


-genitalia -genitalia    
Picture from: Kurz Michael (redrawn from Johansson et al. 1990)
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael (redrawn from Johansson et al. 1990)
Detailed view

genitalia. "Markedly smaller than in other species of this group. Vinculum with moderately deep concavity on anterior extension; lateral corners narrow. Uncus rectangular, hind margin with medial incision; posterior corners slightly produced. Gnathos with very long horns. Valva triangular, arcuate; transtilla narrow in middle, with distinct, outwardly directed sublateral processes. Aedeagus very small." (Johansson et al. 1990).

genitalia. "Corpus bursae with pectinations absent from at least anterior quarter or if present distinctly smaller than on rest of corpus; signa often small and narrow, size variable; with usually small number of relatively large sclerotizations, which seem less connected at margin than in middle of signa." (Johansson et al. 1990).


"Male betulicola differs from other European species of this group and most other Stigmella species in having the pale head and whitish to greyish collar and large white scape usually with lead grey margin. Females can usually be separated from all other species of the betulicola group by the combination of yellowish to orange head, pale yellowish scape and collar, relatively broad fascia which always reaches the costa and pale cilia." (Johansson et al. 1990).
"Male genitalia closely resemble those of nivenburgensis but are distinguished from other species in the group by the shape of the uncus, vinculum, sublateral processes of transtilla and their smaller size. Female genitalia are recognized by the total absence or insignificance of pectinations on at least the anterior quarter of corpus bursae." (Johansson et al. 1990).

Worth knowing:


Johansson, R., E. S. Nielsen, E. J. van Nieukerken & B. Gustafsson 1990. The Nepticulidae and Opostegidae (Lepidoptera) of North West Europe. Fauna Entomologica Scandinavica, vol. 23, 2 parts, 739 pp., 1122 [54 col.] figures.
Nieukerken, E. J. van 2016. Nepticulidae and Opostegidae of the world. - URL: http://nepticuloidea.info/ [online 2016.03.21].
Stainton, H. T. 1856. Lepidoptera. New British Species in 1855. The Entomologist´s Annual for MDCCCLVI: 26-45 + frontispiece. London (John van Voorst).

Publication data:

Kurz Michael: 2015.08.20
Kurz Michael: 2016.03.21
Kurz Michael: 2017.04.12
Kurz Michael: 2018.03.08
Kurz Michael: 2018.12.12
Kurz Michael: 2019.05.10
not reviewed