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 aureatella (Scopoli, 1763)

(zoological nomenclature: valid name, available)

General information:

Phalaena aureatella Scopoli, 1763: 254
Type locality: Slovenia, Carniola
Type: Lost or destroyed in coll. IEUP (Evenhuis 1997).

Synonyms, misspellings, wrong determinations, etc.:
Tinea merianella [Denis & Schiffermüller], 1775: 143. Type locality: Austria, vicinity of Vienna. Junior subjective synonym.
Tinea paykullella Thunberg, 1794: 89. Type locality: "Vestrogothia" (Sweden). Homonym of Alucita paykullella Fabricius, 1794.
Tinea amanella Hübner, 1813: pl. 57 fig. 388. Type locality: None given. Junior subjective synonym.
Micropterix aureatella shikotanica Kozlov, 1988: 12. Type locality: Russia, Kuriles, Shikotan, Malokurilsk. Subspecific ?

Habit:

 
M. aureatella aureatella : ALPENVORLAND; Thalgau/Sbg. 6/3;20.5.1989; 12.40-14.05 h; leg. M.K, coll. Michael Kurz M. aureatella aureatella : Salzburg, Pinzgau, Unken, Heutal, 2000.05.21, leg. Christof Zeller, coll. Christof Zeller M. aureatella ssp.? : Japan, Nagano-ken, Azumi-mura, Abo-tohge, 1780 m, leg. et coll. Nagao Hirano  
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: www.jpmoth.org: © Nagao Hirano
Detailed view
 

Scheme of wing pattern:

Description of adults: Examined: 19 , 32 . Forewing length: 3.9 - 4.6 mm; 4.2 - 4.8 mm. Head black-brown; vestiture of hair-like scales on the head brownish yellow to light ochre; antennae dark brownish golden with a light purple tinge, 4/5 (), respectively, 4/7 () of forewing length; thorax dark bronzy golden, posteriorly partly purplish, tegulae purplish violet, posteriorly sometimes with single bluish scales; forewing purplish violet, to some extent with single bluish scales, sometimes bronzy golden with a purplish violet tinge; markings golden, delicately bordered bronzy golden and of variable width; an indistinct and minute bronzy golden spot at base; a fascia near 1/4, slightly bent inwards and slightly narrowed at costa or in middle, sometimes not reaching costa; a fascia at 1/2, equal in width, somewhat bent outwards and sometimes narrowed in middle; at 3/4 a broad, more or less oval spot of irregular shape, mostly reaching costa but not inner margin; fringe whitish golden; hindwing bronzy golden, more or less with a purplish tinge; fringe bronzy golden, distally whitish; legs light brownish golden; abdomen golden brown.

Variability: In most parts of Europe, variability is not very pronounced. The fascia at 1/4 may be somewhat triangle-shaped, the spot at 3/4 is of variable size. In the eastern palaearctic region however, there occur some local forms: Specimens from Honshu, Japan may have a nearly obsolete fascia at 1/4, the medial fascia also being attenuated or interrupted to form two elongate spots at costa and inner margin (Issiki 1953, Hashimoto 2006). Kozlov furthermore (1988), has described subspecies shikotanica from the Russian Far East. This form is smaller (forewing length 3.2 - 3.8 mm) then the typical form.

Distribution:

According to Karsholt & Nieukerken (2011), M. aureatella is distributed throughout Europe except the Iberian peninsula, Iceland, Luxembourg, the Balkans from Croatia, Serbia and Bulgaria southwards, the European part of Turkey and the Mediterranean islands. The records from Portugal (Heath 1996) are most probably missidentifications (Corley 2007). The typical subspecies is replaced by ssp. shikotanica Kozlov, 1988 in the eastern part of the Palaearctic region, although Issiki (1953) and Hashimoto (2006) did not find any difference from Hokkaido populations to European ones. On the other hand, this subspecies seems to differ clearly from the typical ssp. aureatella and therefore may present even a separate species (Kozlov 1988, 1989; Moriuti 1982). The presence of the species in Japan is remarkable considering its long geological separation; the two populations in Hokkaido and Honshu have slightly different wing pattern but have not been placed to any subspecies (Hashimoto 2006). Vertically, the species has been recorded from near sea-level up to 2000 m a.s.l. (Hashimoto 2006, Kurz & Kurz 2012).

Biology:

   
M. aureatella aureatella: Salzburg, Osterhorn group, Strobl, Blinklingmoos, 2004.05.30 M. aureatella ssp.?: Japan    
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: © www.jpmoth.org
Detailed view
   

M. aureatella occurs especially in high moor land, where the moths have been found swarming around flowering Pinus mugo mugo and Vaccinium myrtillus, but also Carex ssp. in full sunshine. In Hokkaido, Japan, the species is recorded on flowers identified as Heracleum lanatum Michx. var. lanatum (Hashimoto 2006: Fig. 11 O; U. Jinbo, pers. comm.). In mountain areas, M. aureatella inhabits mainly elfin woodland in similar biotopes. Here, imagines were feeding on Rosa pendulina or Aruncus dioicus, partly in direct competition to Micropterix aruncella (Scopoli, 1763), Micropterix aureoviridella (Höfner, 1898) or Micropterix rablensis Zeller, 1868 (Kurz & Kurz 2012). Furthermore, the species can sometimes be found at the edges of forest openings and forest tracks, on more or less acid soils. The imagines are on the wing in one generation from late April till early August, depending on the altitude (Kurz & Kurz 2012).

Stages in development:

According to Heath (1962 and 1983), the egg of the typical subspecies has an oval shape, a length of 470 - 530 µm and a width of 370 - 430 µm with rod-like structures. Immediately before hatching, the translucent white colour turns to grey. The larvae have been found in the strongly mycorrhizal leaf litter of bilberry plants and of oak and beech woodland (Carter and Dugdale, 1982). The pupa is unknown. The early stages of ssp. shikotanica are unknown.

Anatomy:

M. aureatella aureatella -genitalia, prep.-no. 202, Ch. Zeller: Salzburg, Flachgau, Eugendorf, Unzing, Wörlemoos, 2003.05.17, leg. Hausenblas & Zeller, coll. Christof Zeller -genitalia: Japan, Hokkaido -genitalia: Japan, Honshu, Iwasugeyama -genitalia, comparison of M. aureatella shikotanica (left) and M. aureatella aureatella (right).
Picture from: © Zeller Christof
Detailed view
Picture from: © Hashimoto 2006, modified
Detailed view
Picture from: © Issiki 1953, modified
Detailed view
Picture from: © Kozlov 1989, modified
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M. aureatella aureatella -genitalia, prep.-no. 808, M. Kurz: Vorarlberg, Brandnertal, Böser Tritt, 1700 m, 2004.07.30, leg. Puchmayr & Kurz, coll. Michael Kurz      
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
     

Genitalia. Uncus short, somewhat stout in the typical form, somewhat longer in ssp. shikotanica; ventrally beyond the uncus, two unsclerotized small lobes bearing humps; between these and the accessory claspers two lobe-shaped appendices at the anterior margin with long hair-like setae, above them a row with shorter setae; accessory claspers long, narrow, spatulate, at the apex with a small dorsally oriented lobe with short spinoid setae; accessory clasper on the ventral margin with numerous, long, bent spinoid or sickle-shaped setae, which are ventrally oriented; valvae long, strong, constricted medially, with many setae postbasally; the last third bent upwards and distinctly enlarged with many spinoid setae (two clusters of spinoid setae, one at the point of inflection and one at the apex).

Genitalia. Tergite IX missing, sternite IX reduced, distinctly constricted medially, laterally enlarged into a lobe, strongly sclerotized, usually making the margins distinct; terminal papillae with sclerotization in a band; receptaculum seminis long, narrow, at the beginning of the ductus receptaculi somewhat enlarged, forming a sac in the second half with typical striation; receptaculum seminis with a short appendix at the end. The female genitalia of ssp. shikotanica are unknown.

Diagnosis:

M. aureatella aureatella : Salzburg, Pinzgau, Unken, Heutal, 2000.05.21, leg. Christof Zeller, coll. Christof Zeller M. trifasciella : Piemonte, Piamprato, 1600 m, 1969.07.10, leg. Klimesch, coll. Zoologische Sammlung des Bayerischen Staates, Munich M. wockei : Greece, Epirus, near Ioannina, Kalenzi, 2002.05.11, leg. Hausenblas & Zeller, coll. Christof Zeller M. aureatella aureatella -genitalia, prep.-no. 202, Ch. Zeller: Salzburg, Flachgau, Eugendorf, Unzing, Wörlemoos, 2003.05.17, leg. Hausenblas & Zeller, coll. Christof Zeller
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: © Zeller Christof
Detailed view
M. trifasciella -genitalia, prep.-no. 751, M.Kurz: Piemonte, province of Cuneo, Bellino, Santa Anna, Valle Traversagn, 2100 m, 2001.07.21, leg. Peter Huemer, coll. Michael Kurz M. wockei -genitalia, prep.-no. 766 M. Kurz: Greece, Epirus, near Ioannina, Kalenzi, 2002.05.11, leg. et coll. Christof Zeller M. aureatella aureatella -genitalia, prep.-no. 808, M. Kurz: Vorarlberg, Brandnertal, Böser Tritt, 1700 m, 2004.07.30, leg. Puchmayr & Kurz, coll. Michael Kurz M. trifasciella -genitalia, prep.-no. 813, M.Kurz: Piemonte, province of Cuneo, Colle dell´ Agnello, 2150 m, 2001.07.20, leg. Peter Huemer, coll. Michael Kurz
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
     
M. wockei -genitalia, prep.-no. 717 M. Kurz: "Griechenland; Parnaß 1200 m; 16. - 18.6.96; Dr. Grünewald", coll. Grünewald      
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
     

In the south-western part of its distribution range, we know of two externally similar species. The first one, Micropterix trifasciella Heath, 1965 is endemic to the south-western Alps. It is not at all closely allied to M. aureatella, but simply superficially similar. The outer transverse fascia is normally much better developed in M. trifasciella, extending across the whole wing width, whereas in M. aureatella it is reduced to a large costal spot. The second very similar species is Micropterix wockei Staudinger, 1871 from Greece. This species is not only superficially similar, being separable sometimes only by genitalia examination, but is also quite closely allied to M. aureatella. In Asia, we do not know of any externally similar species, but Micropterix sikhotealinensis Ponomarenko & Beljaev, 2000 is very similar with respect to the male genitalia.

Phylogeny: M. aureatella is the "prototype" of a group of species within Micropterix Hübner, 1825, which is characterized by a more or less reduction of the so called accessory claspers and the enlargement of additional lobes, situated between uncus and accessory claspers in the male genitalia. This enlargement is assumed to be an autapomorphy of the group.

Worth knowing:

Sources:

Carter, D. J. & J. S. Dugdale 1982. Notes on collecting and rearing Micropterix (Lepidoptera: Micropterigidae) larvae in England. – Entomologist’s Gazette 33: 43–47.
Corley, M. F. V. 2007. A brief review of the Micropterigidae of Portugal, with description of a new species of Micropterix Hübner. – Nota lepidopterologica 30 (1): 71–78.
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.
Evenhuis N. L. 1997. Litteratura taxonomica dipterorum. (1758– 1930). – 2 vols. 871 pp. Leiden Backhuys.
Fabricius, J. C. 1794. Entomologica systematica emendata et aucta. 3 (2). 349pp. Hafniae.
Hashimoto, S. 2006. A taxonomic study of the family Micropterigidae (Lepidoptera, Micropterigoidea) of Japan, with the phylogenetic relationships among the Northern Hemisphere genera. – Bulletin of the Kitakyushu Museum of Natural History and Human History, ser. A (Natural History) 4: 39–109.
Heath, J. 1962. The eggs of Micropteryx (Lep., Micropterygidae). – The Entomologist´s Monthly Magazine 97: 179–181.
Heath, J. 1983. The moths and butterflies of Great Britain and Ireland, Vol.I: Micropterigidae – Heliozelidae. – Harley Books, Martins, Great Horkesley, Colchester, Essex.
Heath, J. 1996. Family Micropterigidae – In: O. Karsholt & J. Razowski (eds), The Lepidoptera of Europa. A distributional checklist. – Apollo-Books, Stenstrup.
Hübner, J. 1796–1836 ["1796"] a. Sammlung europäischer Schmetterlinge. Horde 8. Tineae-Schaben: [1]–[12]+13–70+[71]–[78], pls 2–71. Augsburg. Continued by C. Geyer.
Issiki, S. 1953. Micropterigoidea of Japan. Bulletin of the Naniwa University Series B Agricultural and Natural Sciences 3: 133-140.
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 17 July 2012].
Kozlov, M. V. 1988. Kratkij ozor i opredelitelonaja tablitsa vidov roda Micropterix (Lepidoptera, Micropterigidae) palearktiki, part 1. – Vestnik zoologii 1988 (4): 8–14 [In Russian].
Kozlov, M. V. 1989. Kratkij ozor i opredelitelonaja tablitsa vidov roda Micropterix (Lepidoptera, Micropterigidae) palearktiki, part 2. – Vestnik zoologii 1989 (6): 26–31 [In Russian].
Kurz, M. A. & M. E. Kurz 2000–2012. Naturkundliches Informationssystem. – URL: http://www.nkis.info [online 17 July 2012].
Moriuti, S. 1982. Micropterigidae. vol. 1: 41–43; vol. 2: 111, 113, 153, pls 235, 245, 246. – In: H. Inoue, S. Sugi, H. Kuroko, S. Moriuti & A. Kawabe. Moths of Japan 1+2. – Kodansha, Tokyo.
Scopoli, J. A. 1763. Entomologica Carniolica exhibens Insecta Carnioliae Indigena et Distributa in Ordines, Genera, Varietates. Methodo Linnaeana. – Vindobona, 421pp, 43 pls. [Reprinted in Graz 1972].
Thunberg, C. P. 1794. Dissertatio Entomologica sistens Insecta suecica 7: 83–98, 1 pl. Upsaliae.

Publication data:

history:
Kurz Michael: 2009.04.03
Kurz Michael: 2010.05.26
Kurz Michael: 2010.11.10
Kurz Michael: 2010.11.19
Kurz Michael: 2011.12.09
Kurz Michael: 2012.07.17
Kurz Michael: 2012.11.07
not reviewed

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