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

Nemophora minimella ([Denis & Schiffermüller], 1775)

(zoological nomenclature: valid name, available)

General information:

Tinea minimella [Denis & Schiffermüller], 1775: 319.
Type locality: Austria, near Vienna
Type: destroyed in the Hofburg fire in 1848 (anonymous 2009b)

Synonyms, misspellings, wrong determinations, etc.:
Nemotois schiffermillerellus var. lenellus Zeller, 1853: 69, 71. Type locality: Austria, Schneeberg. Junior subjective synonym.


: Salzburg, Untersberg area, Glanegg, 2001.06.15, leg. et coll. Michael Kurz : Friuli, Udine, Pasian di Prato, 106 m, 2001.06.22, leg. Morandini C., coll. Museo Friulano    
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view

Description of adults: Examined: 2 , 1 . Forewing length: 5.0-5.3 mm, 4.7 mm.

Head black-brown, naked; face metallic greenish-golden shining; a row of long, black, lash-like bristles from base of antennae along superior margin of eye; a similar row also at posterior margin of eye; eyes much enlarged, about 0.6 mm in diameter; distance of eyes (frontally) about 0.1 mm; labial palpi about 0.9 mm long, diverging ahead, ventrally with distant long, black, hair-like scales; antennae about 2 1/4 of forewing length; basal segment much inflated, brown-violet; flagellum brownish-violet at basis, soon mixed with white scales, white from less than 1/2 of its length to distal end; proboscis at basis metallic greenish-golden shining; thorax and tegulae bronzy golden; forewings basally bronzy golden, more reddish distally; distal part of anterior margin purple; basis of R-stem with long, black-violet streak; basis of inner margin also also black-violet; at app. 2/3 of forewing length a very indistinct, vague, brownish-violet cross-fascia across the whole wing width; fringe bronzy golden, more reddish towards apex; hindwings completely covered with broad scales, at apex brownish with bronzy golden shimmer, otherwise brownish-white with coppery glance; inner margin indistinctly black-violet; fringe whitish-golden shining, at apex bronzy golden; underside of forewing grey-brown, intensively bronzy golden shining; hindwing underside at apex and anterior margin also grey-brown, otherwise lightend whitish, with intensive coppery glance; fringe like on upperside; underside of thorax metallic greenish-golden shining; legs alike, mixed reddish; foretibia with epiphysis; midtibia with long pair of spurs at distal end; hindtibia with long tuft of hair-like scales and a pair of spurs each at about 0.5 of tibial length and at distal end; abdomen purple-violet on upperside, bronzy golden shining on underside.
Vestiture of hair-like scales on head dirty yellow to rusty yellow; eyes about 0.4 mm in diameter; distance of eyes (frontally) about 0.45 mm; labial palpi about 0.55 mm long, ventrally only with short bristles; antennae about 1 1/4 of forewing length, dark brown with purple shimmer, only distalmost 1/5 white; thorax, tegulae and forewings like in , partly also more reddish; hindwings brown-grey, only at basis slightly lighter, with intensive violet shimmer; legs also more reddish than in ; abdomen flattened dorso-ventrally, tapering at distal end.


The species is known from most European countries, except from parts of northern and eastern Europe (amongst others Iceland, Finland and Ukraine), Portugal and the large Mediterranean islands except for Cyprus (Karsholt & Nieukerken 2013). From Asia, no records are known so far (Dubatolov 2009, Koçak & Kemal 2009). Vertically, records are documented from the lowlands to at least 600 m a.s.l. (Kurz & Kurz 2015).


: Salzburg, Untersberg area, Glanegg, 2001.06.15 the same moth    
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view

The animals are day-active and fly in full sunshine on swamp meadows and fens in one generation from June to August (Kurz & Kurz 2015).

Stages in development:

"Eggs are deposited exclusively in still closed flower-heads. The female penetrates the sheaths with its ovipositor to the hidden flower buds, where several eggs are laid at once. The eggs are only about 0.3 mm long and of peculiar shape and colouration.

At first, the young larvae develop in the flowers, where they make their first case from a single blossom. With these blossom-cases, they fall to the ground and from now on, they feed on the basal leaves of the food plant. After already 4 days of their life, the larvae have exchanged their blossom-cases against a very flat, oval and medially slightly constricted case made of plant fragments and soil particles. The length of the case now is app. 5 mm. As heading section, the anterior or posterior opening of the case may be used likewise.
Till the end of October, the cases have reached a length of about 7 mm. Even now, the larvae, which have been held outdoors since several weeks, feed on the leaves of the potted food-plants, moderate tempertures provided. Some of them have attached their cases also to provided pieces of wood. In November, the larvae have holed up in the soil for hibernation. Apparently, the larvae have not taken up any food after hibernation and have stayed hidden beneath the surface. From the beginning of hibernation till the emergence of the adults, no increase in the lenght of the cases has been observed: 6-7.5 mm" (translation from Bryner 2015).


Besides the small size, the very long black-violet streak at the base of the R-stem is charactaristic for the species, the latter being distinctly shorter in other similar species.

Worth knowing:


anonymous 2009b. Das Naturhistorische Museum Wien. Forschung. 2. Zoologische Abteilung (Entomologie). Geschichte. URL: http://http://www.nhm-wien.ac.at/Content.Node/forschung/2zoo/geschichte.html [online 15 September 2009].
Bryner, R. 2015. Nemophora minimella. - in: Lepiforum. Bestimmungshilfe für die in Europa nachgewiesenen Schmetterlingsarten. URL: http://www.lepiforum.de/lepiwiki.pl?Nemophora_Minimella [online 01 April 2015].
Denis, M. & I. Schiffermüller 1775. Ankündigung eines systematischen Werkes von den Schmetterlingen der Wienergegend, herausgegeben von einigen Lehrern am K.K. Theresianum. Augustin Bernardi, Wien. 322 pp.
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 2013. Adelidae. In - Karsholt, O. & E. J. van Nieukerken (eds.). Lepidoptera, Moths. – Fauna Europaea version 2.6.2., http://www.faunaeur.org [online 01 April 2015].
Koçak, A. Ö. & M. Kemal 2009. Revised Checklist of the Lepidoptera of Turkey. Priamus, supplement 17: 1-253.
Kurz, M. A. & M. E. Kurz 2000–2015. Naturkundliches Informationssystem. – URL: http://www.nkis.info [online 01 April 2015 2015].

Publication data:

Kurz Michael: 2006.01.22
Kurz Michael: 2015.04.01
Kurz Michael: 2015.04.16
not reviewed