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 aurella (Fabricius, 1775)

(zoological nomenclature: valid name, available)

General information:

Tinea aurella Fabricius, 1775: 666.
Type locality: Germany, Lipsiae [Leipzig]
Type: Syntypes: Germany, Lipsiae in Pomonae arboribus, lost (Nieukerken 2014).

Synonyms, misspellings, wrong determinations, etc.:
Nepticula fragariella Heinemann, 1862
Nepticula nitens Fologne, 1862
Nepticula gei Wocke, 1871
Nepticula albicomella Heinemann & Wocke, 1876


: schematic      
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view

Description of adults: . "Wingspan: 5.0-6.0 mm. Head: frontal tuft and vertex varying from ochreous orange to dark brown; collar coppery to dark brown, shining. Scape small, pale yellow to pale brown, lustrous; antenna three-fifths of forewing length, dark grey-brown. Thorax golden bronze to dark brown, brightly shining. Forewing: area proximal to fascia dark golden bronze to copper-brown, brightly shining, at costa and extreme base often with blue or purplish reflection; fascia distinct, shining golden; distal to fascia deep blue-black, shining; terminal cilia dark grey-brown. Hindwing and cilia grey-brown. Abdomen lustrous black with ochreous to brownish anal tuft." (Nieukerken 2014)
. "Wingspan: 5.5-6.5 mm. Usually slightly darker and larger than male." (Nieukerken 2014).

Notes on description: "Specimens from Poland, N. Germany and the Netherlands are usually darker, less shining and have darker heads than S. European specimens. Few melanistic specimens of aurella (ab. semicolorella Eppelsheim) are known." "Emmet (1976) treated aurella as several distinct species mainly based on biology and the leaf mines. Klimesch (1981) has subsequently revised the group, and his findings are confirmed by electrophoretic studies and crossing experiments (Bryan & Menken, in litt.)." (Nieukerken 2014). Nevertheless, these races, feeding on different plants are not at all found everywhere, where aurella (on Rubus) as well as one of the other foodplants occur.


The species is widely distributed in Europe, except for the north and parts of the Balkan peninsula (Karsholt & Nieukerken 2011). Furthermore it has been recorded from Turkey and Turkmenistan (Nieukerken 2014).


Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Pordenone, Vivaro, Magredi dell Cellina, 2008.06.07      
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view

In central Europe, the species occurs in two or three generations per year, whereas in southern Europe, France and England it breeds continuously (Nieukerken 2014). The species inhabits clear-cuttings, wood edges and bushy places. Here, it seems to prefer shady and somewhat moist situations (Kurz & Kurz 2014).

Stages in development:

A mine in a leaf of Rubus (Rubus) caesius Linné: Salzburg, Flachgau, Eugendorf, Sophiensiedlung, at the Schernbach, 2003.09.22 Mine in a leaf of Rubus (Rubus) sp.: Salzburg, Flachgau, Eugendorf, Sophiensiedlung, wood margin, 2005.07.18 Mines on Fragaria vesca: Upper Austria, Mondsee, Plomberg, 2005.07.24  
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view

Description of early stages following Nieukerken (2014):

Egg. The egg is usually laid on the underside of a leaf.

Larva. The larva is yellow. It feeds on Rubus fructicosus agg., Rubus caesius, probably Rubus ulmifolius and other related Rubus ssp., Fragaria vesca (Kurz & Kurz 2014), probably other Fragaria ssp., Geum ssp. and Agrimonia ssp., in Greece also on Geranium versicolor (Nieukerken 2014). The mine is a long, irregualr gallery. The frass is deposited in the first part in a broad central line, but more scattered in the last part. The cocoon is brown.


-genitalia, schematic -genitalia, schematic    
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. "Vinculum moderately long; anterior margin with shallow to moderately deep emargination. Uncus short, with distinct medial notch and indistinct paramedial notches. Valva broad and short, usually not reaching to hind margin of uncus; distal process pointed, at right angle to inner lobe. Transtilla with distinct sublateral processes. Juxta present. Aedeagus bottleshaped, 1.5 length of genital capsule; with 12-15 pointed cornuti near tip, proximal part with numerous needle-shaped cornuti." (Nieukerken 2014).

Genitalia. "Corpus bursae long and slender, without pectinations. Vestibulum not or only slightly swollen. Accessory sac long. Ductus spermathecae with distinct spines in proximal portion. Apophyses slender and pointed; posteriores longest." (Nieukerken 2014).


"S. aurella differs from S. splendidissimella (with which it frequently has been confused) in usually having yellowish head, golden brown thorax and forewing base (greenish golden in splendidissimella) and almost black distal third of forewing. The male genitalia of aurella differ in shorter vinculum, uncus and valvae and aedeagus with longer, thinner and more numerous cornuti; the female genitalia differ in having less swollen vestibulum, less conspicuous spines in ductus spermathecae and lack of pectinations on corpus bursae." (Nieukerken 2014). The mines are variable and cannot always be separated from those of S. splendidissimella, although the frass line is usually broader and more scattered in the second part. The mines of Stigmella auromarginella (Richardson, 1890) are normally shorter, the leaf around the mine is often conspiciously stained purple.

Worth knowing:


Fabricius, J. C. 1775. Systema Entomologiae, sistens insectorum classes, ordines, genera, species, adiectis synonymis locis, descriptionibus, observationibus. Flensbvrgi et Lipsiae: In Officina Libraria Kortii, 832 pp.
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].
Kurz, M. A. & M. E. Kurz 2000–2014. Naturkundliches Informationssystem. – URL: http://www.nkis.info [online 2014.03.25].
Nieukerken, E. J. van 2014: Nepticulidae and Opostegidae of the world. - URL: http://nepticuloidea.info/ [online 2014.03.19].

Publication data:

Kurz Michael: 2014.03.25
Kurz Michael: 2016.08.01
Kurz Michael: 2017.03.17
not reviewed