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

Nematopogon robertella (Clerck, 1759)

(zoological nomenclature: valid name, available)

General information:

Phalaena robertella Clerck, 1759: pl. 11, fig. 10.
Type locality: Sweden
Type: Lectotype (? sex) [without head and abdomen: [Sweden], in coll. DEUU

Synonyms, misspellings, wrong determinations, etc.:
Tinea pilulella Hübner, [1813]: Taf. 61, Fig. 409. Type locality: [Europe]. Junior subjective synonym.
Nemophora pilulella ab. reglensis Prüffer, 1923: 107. Type locality: Poland, Gasienicowa. Unavailable infrasubspecific name.


: Salzburg, Flachgau, Thalgau, 1982.05.30, coll. Michael Kurz : Slovenia, Kamniske Planine, Krvavec, 1400 m, 1993.06.10, leg. Carnelutti J., coll. Museo Friulano di Storia Naturale, Udine    
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view

Description of adults: Examined: 6 , 2 . Forewing length: 6.0 - 8.0 mm, 6.5 - 6.8 mm. Head brown, vestiture of hair-like scales on the head distant, dirty yellow to light grey; frons with more adpressed scales; eyes semiglobular, greyish-brown, about 0.45 mm in diameter; maxillary palpi well developed, with light beige scales; labial palpi tiny; proboscis well developed, scaled light beige; antennae about 2 1/2 (), respectively, about 2 () of forewing length, whitish, smoothly scaled; scapus inflated; thorax and tegulae brownish grey with yellowish shimmer; forewings grey with prominent, dark grey cross-bar at the discus and similarly coloured outer margin; forewings densely spotted with light beige, the spots irregularly arranged in lines and cross-rows, thus giving a strong reticulate impression; slightly bigger spots of the same colour at the inner margin at about 1/3 and slightly basal of the tornus, as well as at the costa at 2/3 and 3/4; fringe brownish-grey; hindwings with narrow lanceolate scales, not completely covering the wing membrane, except the outer third of the wing; here with broader scales; hindwings light grey with nacre-like shimmer; fringe light grey, also with strong nacre-like glance; underside light brownish-grey, devoid of any markings, intensively coppery shining; legs light brownish-grey, intensively coppery shining; foretibia with epiphysis; midtibia with a pair of spurs at the distal end; hindtibia inflated with a tuft of long, hair-like scales and a pair of spurs each at about 0.65 of the tibial length and at the distal end; abdomen smoothly scaled, grey, shining; valves of males with yellow hair-like setae.


Following Nielsen (1985), the species is distributed throughout the Palaearctic region. It is know for example from Japan (anonymous 2009a) and the south Siberian mountains (Dubatolov 2009). In Europe, N. robertella is known from most countries except the Bristish Isles, Portugal, parts of European Russia and the Balkans, as well as the large Mediterranean islands (Karsholt & Nieukerken 2010). Vertically, records are available from the lowlands up to 1500 m a.s.l. (Kurz & Kurz 2010).


Salzburg, Osterhorngruppe, St. Gilgen, Falkenstein, Scheffelblick, 2004.06.06 the same moth: Salzburg, Osterhorngruppe, St. Gilgen, Falkenstein, Scheffelblick, 2004.06.06    
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view

The species inhabits predominantly coniferous woods, like mixed spruce-fir-woods, but also mixed beech-spruce-fir-woods and other deciduous woods with some portion of coniferous trees. Furthermore, the species may be found in adjacent tall herb vegetation, wood-rich clear cuttings, meadows and heaths too. The imagines are day-active, preferably in the afternoon and in the early evening. They fly in one generation from May to July (Kurz & Kurz 2010).


The grey forewings, the strong reticulate impression and the prominent dark discoidal cross-bar separate the species readily from most other of the genus. Quite similar in appearance is Nematopogon prolai Hartig, 1941 from the central Apennines in Italy, but this species is distinctly larger than N. robertella, the discoidal cross-bar being very weak and the antennae being slightly, but distinctly ringed in light and dark.

Worth knowing:


anonymous 2009a. An Identification Guide of Japanese Moths Compiled by Everyone. URL: http://www.jpmoth.org [online 26 April 2010].
Clerck, C. A. 1759-1764. Icones Insectorum Rariorum. Holmiae: XII+III, 55 pls.
Dubatolov, V. V. 2009. Collection of Siberian Zoological Museum: Adelidae. http://szmn.sbras.ru/Lepidop/Incurvar.htm [online 26 April 2010].
Karsholt, O. & E. J. van Nieukerken 2010. Adelidae. In - Karsholt, O. & E. J. van Nieukerken (eds.). Lepidoptera, Moths. – Fauna Europaea version 2.2., http://www.faunaeur.org [online 21 June 2010].
Kurz, M. A. & M. E. Kurz 2000–2010. Naturkundliches Informationssystem. – URL: http://www.nkis.info [online 21 June 2010].
Nielsen, E. S. 1985. A taxonomic review of the adelid genus Nematopogon Zeller (Lepidoptera: Incurvarioidea). Entomologia Scandinavica supplement no. 25: 66 pp.

Publication data:

Kurz Michael: 2005.09.04
Kurz Michael: 2010.06.25
Kurz Michael: 2013.11.11
Kurz Michael: 2020.08.02
not reviewed