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

Micropterix myrtetella s.str. Zeller, 1850

(zoological nomenclature: valid name, available)

General information:

Micropteryx myrtetella Zeller, 1850: 62.
Type locality: Italy, Tuscany, Montenero near Livorno
Type: Holotype : in coll. BMNH

Synonyms, misspellings, wrong determinations, etc.:
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Habit:

 
: Lower Austria, Wiener Becken, Gumpoldskirchen, 1941.06.25, coll. NHMW : Croatia, Kvarneric islands, Krk, Baska, 2002.04.30, leg. Jan Liska, coll. Jan Liska : Tuscany, near Livorno, Montenero, 1999.05.07, leg. Renate Hausenblas und Christof Zeller, coll. Christof Zeller  
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
 

Scheme of wing pattern:

Description of adults: Examined: 25 (incl. slide of holotype), 11 . Forewing length: 2.2–2.8 mm, 2.7–3.0 mm. Head black-brown, vestiture of hair-like scales on the head dark yellow; antennae brown, bronzy golden shining, more than 3/4 (), respectively, 2/3 () of forewing length; thorax bronzy golden; tegulae purple, mixed with bronzy golden scales; forewing purple to purplish violet, distally often lighter, with golden, delicately bronzy golden bordered markings: a broad fascia at 1/4 across the whole wing width, constricted towards costa and sometimes not quite reaching it; a broad fascia nearly at 1/2, bent outwards, sometimes constricted or even interrupted in the middle; seldom a small costal spot at 2/3; a broad, irregularly formed spot at 3/4, extending from costa across somewhat more than the middle of the wing, this spot sometimes also indistinct or nearly atrophied; fringe golden, outside whitish; hindwing bronzy golden with a purple tinge; fringe bronzy golden, distally lighter; legs and abdomen brown, golden shining.

Remarks. The holotype shows a small, but distinct costal spot at 2/3, a character missing in most other specimens, especially those from the Balkans.

Distribution:

According to Karsholt & Nieukerken (2011) the species occurs in Italy, Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania and Greece (see also Heath 1965b), as well as in the Ukraine. The male specimen found in Austria (Gumpoldskirchen) has been verified by genitalic examination. Further confirmed records are from the type location in Italy, Croatia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Bulgaria and Greece (Kurz & Kurz 2012). Vertically, records have been documented from near sea-level up to 700 m a.s.l. (Kurz & Kurz 2012).

Biology:

   
Mediterranean hard shrub; Montenegro, Herceg-Novi, Igalo, above the village, 2003.05.03 Mediterranean hard shrub; Montenegro, Herceg-Novi, Igalo, above the village, 2003.05.02    
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
   

The species inhabits outskirts and edges of medium to tall, dense mediterranean woody shrubland and associated tall herb vegetation. The animals are day-active at least from 10:00 am to 17:00 pm and have been found feeding gregariously at the pollen of Olea europaea. They are on the wing in one generation from the end of April till early July, depending on the altitude (all information retrieved from Kurz & Kurz 2012).

Stages in development:

The early stages are unknown.

Anatomy:

-genitalia: Lower Austria, Wiener Becken, Gumpoldskirchen, 1941.06.25, mikroscop. preparation Mus.Vind. 14134 (Heath John), coll. Naturhistorisches Museum, Vienna -genitalia, prep.-no. 754, M.Kurz: Croatia, Kvarneric islands, Krk, Baska, 2002.04.30, leg. Jan Liska, coll. Jan Liska -genitalia, prep.-no. 530, M.Kurz: "Mann; 1872; Livorno ", coll. Naturhistorisches Museum, Vienna -genitalia, prep.-no. 818, preparation in caustic potassium, M.Kurz: Greece, Epirus, Acheron, Gliki, 2002.05.13, leg. Hausenblas/Zeller, coll. Christof Zeller
Picture from: © Zeller Christof
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
   
-genitalia, prep.-no. 818, M.Kurz: Greece, Epirus, Acheron, Gliki, 2002.05.13, leg. Hausenblas/Zeller, coll. Christof Zeller -genitalia, receptaculum seminis in higher magnification, prep.-no. 818, M.Kurz: Greece, Epirus, Acheron, Gliki, 2002.05.13, leg. Hausenblas/Zeller, coll. Christof Zeller    
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
   

Genitalia. Uncus short with broad rounded tip; ventrally and inside the tegumen a tuft of hair-like setae; accessory claspers very broad; along their anterior margin on the inner surface a row of short, straight spinoid setae, slightly bent at their end; at the lower end, somewhat located proximally, a second row of five or six short, straight spinoid setae; particularly stout and modified setae have not been found; valvae moderately long, slender, constricted medially, the distal fourth spatulate to somewhat triangle-shaped and somewhat bent upwards; postbasally a row of three or four moderately long, nearly straight spinoid setae at the inner surface of the valvae; at the inner surface of the enlarged end a row of six or seven straight, short spinoid setae and some normal setae.

Genitalia. Tergite IX missing, sternite IX reduced, strongly constricted medially, not characteristic; terminal papillae with sclerotization in an indistinct band; receptaculum seminis short and stout, the second half bag-like inflated, with genero-typical striation; vestibulum moderately large, simple, like a sac.

Diagnosis:

M. myrtetella myrtetella, -genitalia, prep-no. 530, M.Kurz: "Mann; 1872; Livorno ", coll. Naturhistorisches Museum, Vienna M. croatica, -genitalia, prep.-no. 363, M.Kurz: "Triest; 12.4.10; Knitschke", coll. Oberösterreichische Landessammlung, Linz M. rablensis, -genitalia, prep.-no. 316, M.Kurz: "Möderndorf; Kärnten; 7.7.06", coll. Oberösterreichische Landessammlung, Linz M. rablensis, -genitalia, prep.-no. 366, M.Kurz: "Lantsch; 13.7.16 ", coll. Oberösterreichische Landessammlung, Linz
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view

Individuals from southern and south-eastern Greece show a strong reduction of the wing markings (lacking the spot at 3/4 and the fascia in the middle), also often with a brighter purple colouration. Sometimes, they are completely devoid of any markings, with a bronzy golden ground colour. Their taxonomix status is unclear and they may eventually considered to be a distinct subspecies (Micropterix myrtetella idae Rebel, 1902), although intermediates occur throughout the Balkans. Otherwise, M. myrtetella is very similar to Micropterix rablensis Zeller, 1868 and Micropterix croatica Heath & Kaltenbach, 1984 (all three species are of about the same size), but can be separated most easily by its golden spot at 3/4, which never spreads across the whole width of the forewing. The male genitalia of all three species are also very similar. M. myrtetella can be recognized by the less stout shape of the whole genitalia and by its distinctly pronounced uncus. Furthermore, the species can be separated from M. rablensis by its postbasal row of spinoid setae on the valvae. Also very similar is Micropterix trinacriella Kurz, Zeller & Kurz, 1997 from Sicily, which can be distinguished easily by its genitalia. The same applies to Micropterix cassinella Kurz & Kurz 2012, which can be recognized for certainty only by examination of the genitalia too.

Worth knowing:

Sources:

Heath, J. 1965b. Ergebnisse der Albanien-Expedition 1961 des Deutschen Entomologischen Institutes, 33. Beitrag, Lepidoptera: Micropterigidae. – Beiträge zur Entomologie 15: 641–647.
Karsholt, O. & E. J. van Nieukerken 2011. Micropterigidae. In - Karsholt, O. & E. J. van Nieukerken (eds.). Lepidoptera, Moths. – Fauna Europaea version 2.4., http://www.faunaeur.org [online 22 February 2012].
Kurz, M. A. & M. E. Kurz 2000–2012. Naturkundliches Informationssystem. – URL: http://www.nkis.info [online 22 February 2012].
Zeller, P. C. 1850. Verzeichnis der von Herrn Jos. Mann beobachteten Toscanischen Microlepidoptera. – Stettiner Entomologische Zeitung 11: 59–64.

Publication data:

history:
Kurz Michael: 2006.04.19
Zeller Christof: 2006.12.01
Kurz Michael: 2008.11.20
Kurz Michael: 2012.02.22
not reviewed

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