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

Enteucha acetosae (Stainton, 1854)

(zoological nomenclature: valid name, available)

General information:

Nepticula acetosae Stainton, 1854: 303.
Type locality: Ireland, Dublin
Type: Syntype: Ireland, Dublin, in coll. NHM, London

Synonyms, misspellings, wrong determinations, etc.:
Nepticula arifoliella Klimesch, 1940: 92. Type locality: Upper Austria, Gr. Pyhrgas, 1900 m. Junior subjective synonym.
Nepticula arifoliella var. altvateri Skala, 1941: 79. Unavailable.


, schematic      
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view

Description of adults: "Wingspan: 3.0-5.0 mm. Head: frontal tuft and vertex dark grey-brown; collar dark grey-brown; scape large, white, often with silvery or metallic grey edges; antenna dark grey to blackish, half to three-fifths of forewing length. Thorax shining bronze to brass coloured. Forewing: area proximal to fascia dull brass or bronze shading into dark brown or brownish violet at fascia; fascia postmedial, silvery to pale golden; distal to fascia brown to blackish brown, more or less suffused with blue and violet; terminal cilia dark grey. Hindwing: grey-brown, cilia similar. Abdomen dark grey, lustrous, with small grey-brown anal tufts." (Johansson et al. 1990).

Remarks: "Specimens from northern DDR and alpine localities (1100-2000 m) in southern Poland and Austria differ markedly from the west European specimens as described above. The alpine form, described as a distinct species (arifoliella Klimesch) is larger, 4-5 mm, with more contrasting wing-pattern: a broad band before fascia and distal part of forewing almost black, suffused with blue and violet; the fascia is broad, silvery. The head black. Host plant Rumex arifolius. A long series of specimens from northern DDR show little or no difference from the alpine ones. Breeding experiments (Borkowski, 1975: 529) have shown that the alpine form feeds on Rumex acetosa as well. The genitalia show no differences from those of west European specimens." (Nieukerken 2014).


The species occurs only in Europe, with recordings from Ireland throughout central Europe to Romania and from Sweden to Serbia and Montenegro (Karsholt & Nieukerken 2011).


In northern Europe, two generations per year are observed, whereas in Britain and central Europe, there may be three. The alpine form has only one generation (Johansson et al. 1990).

Stages in development:

several mines in a leaf of Rumex sp.      
Picture from: wikimedia commons: Janet Graham (CC-BY 2.0)
Detailed view

Description of early stages following Johansson et al. (1990):

Egg. The egg is laid on the lower surface of a leaf, usually at a rib. Often, several eggs are laid on one leaf.

Larva. The larva is pale yellow with greenish intestine and anal segment. The head is very pale yellowish brown. The larvae mine leaves of Rumex acetosa, Rumex acetosella and Rumex arifolius. The fist half of the mine consists of a series of circles or half-circles around the egg with the frass in a thin central line. The second half of the mine is an irregular gallery with interrupted or irregular frass line. In thin leaves, the mine may be 3-4times longer than in thick leaves. The leaf turns bright red around the mine. The cocoon is white.


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

Genitalia. "Vinculum square, anterior margin almost straight or only slightly emarginate. Uncus triangular. Gnathos tongue-shaped. Tegumen broad. Valva with prominent oval inner lobe and distinct distal process. Transtilla without transverse bar, sublateral process distinct. Aedeagus cylindrical, with a few small and weakly sclerotized spines at apex; cathrema absent." (Johansson et al. 1990):

Genitalia. "Corpus bursae very small, membraneous, accessory sac simple, rounded; ductus spermathecae as long as corpus bursae; entire bursa copulatrix not reaching segment VI. Apophyses posteriores short and slender; apophyses anteriores highly modified, forming short, broad lobes and a broad ring around posterior margin of segment VII." (Johansson et al. 1990).


E. acetosae is the only European nepticulid feeding on Rumex sp.. The small size, together with the brass coloured inner third of the forewing and the large white scape distinguishes the species also from other nepticulids with fascia (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 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 2014.02.10].
Nieukerken, E. J. van 2014: Nepticulidae and Opostegidae of the world. - URL: http://nepticuloidea.info/ [online 2014.02.11].
Stainton, H. T. 1854. Insecta Britannica. Lepidoptera: Tineina. Lovell Reeve, London, 313 pp.

Publication data:

Kurz Michael: 2014.02.10
Kurz Michael: 2014.02.11
Kurz Michael: 2016.03.21
Kurz Michael: 2016.03.29
Kurz Michael: 2016.03.30
Kurz Michael: 2016.03.31
Document reviewed by:
not reviewed: 2016.03.31
Document released by:
Kurz Michael: 2016.03.31