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

Heliozela Herrich-Schäffer, 1853

(zoological nomenclature: valid name, available)

General information:

Heliozela Herrich-Schäffer, 1853: 315.
Synonyms, misspellings, wrong determinations, etc.:

The taxonomy of European Heliozela is still somewhat doubtful. Mostly, four different species are recognized. Heliozela hammoniella Sorhagen, 1885 however, is sometimes regarded to be a synonym of Heliozela resplendella (Stainton, 1851) only, since there are no convincing differences neither externally nor in the genitalia. Only the larval foodplant distinguishes the two taxa (Betula for H. hammoniella and Alnus for H. resplendella). But even the identity of H. resplendella is not completely clear. Most data for larvae are from July and August from Alnus glutinosa, but there are some populations, whose larvae live on Alnus incana as early as June (Bryner 2015). The corresponding imagines also seem to be lighter grey instead of dark brown.


In Europe, species of the genus are widespread. Only from Spain, larger parts of the Balkan peninsula, from Sardinia, Crete and Cyprus no data have been known (Karsholt & Nieukerken, 2013). Heliozela lithargyrellum (Zeller, 1850) however, is recorded for the first time from Sardinia and Spain (Mallorca, see Kurz & Kurz 2015). Furthermore, Heliozela-species occur at least in Japan (anonymous 2009), North America (Hodges et al. 1983) and Australia (Nielsen et al. 1996). The number of species however, is low in all cases.


The species of Heliozela are day-active and fly in full sunshine. The are distributed locally only, but occur often in larger numbers. Preferred biotopes are sunny, but not to dry margins of woods and shrubs, where the imagines mostly fly around the foodplants of their larvae.

Stages in development:

Larva. The larvae create galleries in the midrib of a leaf of their foodplant, which is hardly discernable initially. When fullfed, they make a small blotch in the leaf nearby the midrib and cut out an oval excision, from which they make a flat case. With this case, they drop to the ground and pupate inside it.

Worth knowing:


anonymous 2009. An Identification Guide of Japanese Moths Compiled by Everyone. URL: http://www.jpmoth.org [online 10 July 2015].
Bryner, R. 2015. Heliozela resplendella. Lepiforum - Bestimmungshilfe. URL: http://www.lepiforum.de/lepiwiki.pl?Heliozela_Resplendella. [online 10 July 2015]
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.
Hodges, R. W. et al. 1983. Check List of the Lepidoptera of America North of Mexico. E. W. Classey, London, UK. Updated by Jean-François Landry, Don Lafontaine and Jim Troubridge. URL: http://www.lepbarcoding.org [online 10 July 2015]
Karsholt, O. & E. J. van Nieukerken 2013. Heliozelidae. In - Karsholt, O. & E. J. van Nieukerken (eds.). Lepidoptera, Moths. – Fauna Europaea version 2.6.2, http://fauna.naturkundemuseum-berlin.de/ [online 13 July 2015].
Kurz, M. A. & M. E. Kurz 2000–2015. Naturkundliches Informationssystem. – URL: http://www.nkis.info [online 16 July 2015].
Nielsen E. S., E. D. Edwards & T. V. Rangsi 1996. Checklist of the Lepidoptera of Australia. - Lepidoptera barcode of life. URL: http://www.lepbarcoding.org/australia/species_checklists.php [online 13 July 2015].

Publication data:

Kurz Michael: 2015.07.20
not reviewed