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 resplendella (Stainton, 1851)

(zoological nomenclature: valid name, available)

General information:

Aechmia resplendella Stainton, 1851: 179.
Type locality: England, West Wickham.
Type: Lectotype : "Type" [rounded label with red margin]; West Wickham, ENGLAND, 2.VI.1850, DGL. Coll. (Mason 1906), (168); Walsingham Collection, 1910-427; Aechmia resplendella Dgl. Mss., Stn. Sppl. Cat. Br. Tin. Pbi. 6 (1851) TYPE Dgl. Mss 168 [handwritten in label bordered with black]; resplendellum, Dougl. [printed]; B. M. Genitalia slide No. 29829. in coll. NHM, London: designated by Mutanen et al. 2007.

Synonyms, misspellings, wrong determinations, etc.:


: Toscana, Firenze, Marradi, 700 m, 2004.05.17, leg. M. Bruno, L. Usvelli, in coll. Museo Friulano di Storia Naturale      
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view

Description of adults: Examined: 1 , 1 specimen without abdomen. Forewing length: 4.0 mm. Head smoothly scaled, dark brown, bronzy golden shining; eyes very small, semiglobular, black-brown; labial palpi downwardly diverging, 0.25 mm long, dark brown, bronzy golden shining; antennae almost 1/2 of forewing length, filiform, dark brown, bronzy golden shining; thorax, tegulae and forewings dark brown, bronzy golden shining; forewing in fold indistinctly lightened golden, distal part of costal margin somewhat purple; a small white spot at inner margin at about 1/8; an irregular, triangular white spot at inner margin at somwhat more than 1/2, its tip reaching across half of the wing width; fringe of ground colour; hindwings completely covered with broad scales, brown-grey, bronzy golden shining, towards apex darker with purple violet shimmer; fringe light brown-grey, bronzy golden shining; underside of forewing dark brown, intensively violet shimmering, with blueish gloss; underside of hind wing brown-grey with intensive violet shimmer; fringe of all wings bronzy golden; underside of thorax with bronzy golden metallic glance; abdomen dark brown at upperside, somewhat bronzy golden shining, at underside with bronzy golden metallic glance, in tapering towards distal end.


In Europe, the species is known from the British Isles and France throughout central Europe to Scandinavia, the Baltic states, as well as European Russia. On the northern Balkan peninsula, the species reaches Romania (Karsholt & Nieukerken 2013). Following Kurz & Kurz (2015) it also ocurs in northern Italy. Outside Europe, it is unknown (Mutanen et al. 2007).

Stages in development:

Early Mine on Alnus glutinosa: Upper Austria, Mattsee, Camping Stein, 2018.07.27 Mine on Alnus glutinosa: Salzburg, Untersberg area, Großgmain Salzburg, city of Salzburg, Sam, Sam Moos, 2015.08.04, leg. Puchmayr & Kurz, coll. Michael Kurz  
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view

Egg. The egg is laid near the midrib of a leaf, close to the tip.

Larva. After hatching, the larva mines a short gallery towards the midrib and then feeds in the midrib towards the base of the leaf. Here, it turns around and mines back towards the leaf tip, at least to the center of the leaf. It then mines a small blotch into the leaf, from which it cuts out an oval cocoon (Bryner 2015). The larvae feed on Alnus glutinosa and Alnus incana in July and early August. Bryner (2015) however, has found larvae in Switzerland already as early as June.

Pupa. Pupation takes place in the oval bag. Prior to hatching of the imago, the pupa creps out from this bag to about half of its length.


The specific distinctiveness of Heliozela hammoniella Sorhagen, 1885 from H. resplendella has often been doubted. The only differentiating character seemed to be the foodplant of the larva (Betula for H. hammoniella, Alnus for H. resplendella). Mutanen et al. (2007) however were able to show that there are also slight differences in the male and female genitalia, as well as minute differences in the wing markings between the to taxa. The differences in wing markings are not diagnostic however. In the male genitalia, differences are found in the fultura inferior, which surrounds the phallus. In H. resplendella, it bears 8-10 comparatively small teeth, which are not bent nor hook-like at the tip. In H. hammoniella, there are 10 larger teeth, many of them being hook-like at the end. In the female genitalia, both species can be distinguished by the absolute length of the apophyses anteriores and posteriores. In H. resplendella, the apophyses anteriores have a length of 0.993 ± 0.03 mm (0.841 ± 0.029 mm in H. hammoniella), whereas the apophyses posteriores measure 1.659 ± 0.044 mm in H. resplendella and 1.46 ± 0.061 mm in H. hammoniella (all values following Mutanen et al. 2007).

Worth knowing:


Bryner, R. 2015. Heliozela resplendella. Lepiforum - Bestimmungshilfe. URL: http://www.lepiforum.de/lepiwiki.pl?Heliozela_Resplendella. [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://faunaeur.org/ [online 31 July 2015].
Kurz, M. A. & M. E. Kurz 2000–2015. Naturkundliches Informationssystem. – URL: http://www.nkis.info [online 31 July 2015].
Mutanen, M., J. Itämies & L. Kaila 2007. Heliozela resplendella (Stainton, 1851) and H. hammoniella Sorhagen, 1885: two valid species distinguishable in the genitalia of both sexes and life histories (Heliozelidae). Nota lepidopterologica 30 (1): 79-92.
Stainton, H. T. 1851. A supplementary catalogue of the British Tineidae & Pterophoridae. – John van Voorst, London. 28 pp.

Publication data:

Kurz Michael: 2014.02.16
Kurz Michael: 2015.07.15
Kurz Michael: 2015.08.03
Kurz Michael: 2015.10.29
Kurz Michael: 2019.05.12
not reviewed