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

Eriocrania (Eriocrania) sparrmannella (Bosc, 1791)

(zoological nomenclature: valid name, available)

General information:

Phalaena Tinea sparrmannella Bosc, 1791: 197, pl. 17, fig. 6, 7
Type locality: France, Paris
Type: not designated. Type deposition unknown

Synonyms, misspellings, wrong determinations, etc.:
Tinea auropurpurella Haworth, 1828: 572
Tinea rubroaurella Haworth, 1828: 572
Micropteryx caledoniella Griffith, 1891: 300
Eriocrania fimbriata Walsingham, 1900: 106


: Salzburg, Gois, Goiser Moos, 436m, 2012.04.25, leg. et coll. Christof Zeller : Northern Tyrol, Seefeld, 1100 m, 1968.04.19, leg. K.Burmann, coll. Tiroler Landesmuseum Ferdinandeum : Northern Tyrol, Ahrnberg, 1941.05.06, leg. K.Burmann, coll. Tiroler Landesmuseum Ferdinandeum : Northern Tyrol, near Innsbruck, 1968.04.19, leg. K.Burmann, coll. Tiroler Landesmuseum Ferdinandeum
Picture from: © Zeller Christof
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view

Description of adults: Examined: 1 , 2 , amendments following Heath, 1983. Forewing length: 5.0 mm, 4.4 - 4.9 mm. Head black-brown; vestiture of hair-like scales on the head sparse, distant, mixed whitish-grey and dark brown; diameter of eyes about 0.25 mm, distance between eyes about twice the diameter (frontal view); maxillary palpi long, folded, their last links diverging, bent upwards, with distant scales of creamy and dark brown colour; antennae slightly more than 1/2 (), respectively, 1/2 () of forewing length; basal link whitish-grey, flagellum with adpressed, golden shining scales; thorax with distant, hair-like scales, mixed whitish-grey and dark brown; forewings relatively broad, golden shining, with about 12 - 15 fine, purple, irregular, transverse fasciae, which are partly interrupted, partly also connected by fine bridges, thus giving the wing a reticulate appearance; furthermore, the purple fasciae are interspersed by blue scales and are condensed to two bigger spots along the costa at slightly more than 1/2 and at about 3/4; a distinct, whitish-golden spot at the tornus, reaching across 1/4 of the wing width; some further diffuse, but conspicious, small, whitish-golden spots along costa and outer margin; fringe shining bronzy golden to coppery, scales emerging from the mentioned small whitish-golden spots also in that colour, thus giving the fringe a slightly chequered appearance; membrane of hind wing almost completely covered by broad scales in the outer half of the wing and at the inner margin; a streak of more lanceolate scales, not completely covering the wing membrane, from the basis of the costal margin to the centre of the wing; hindwings bronzy golden, intensively tinged purple, especially towards the apex; fringe mixed whitish-golden and coppery, therefore slightly chequered; underside of all wings bronzy golden, forewings with indistinct purple spots; fringe of all wings conspiciously shining whitish-golden; legs bronzy golden shining, diffusely ringed whitish-golden; foretibia without epiphysis; midtibia with a single spur at its distal end; hindtibia slightly thickened with very long but sparse, light golden, hair-like scales and a pair of spurs each at its distal end as well as at about 0.7 of the tibial length; abdomen brown with short and sparse, bronzy golden, hair-like scales.

Remarks: The f. fimbriata Walsingham has unicolorous, shining golden wings (Heath, 1983) and is presently regarded as infrasubspecific.


The species is distributed in the northern Palaearctic region, from northern and central Europe throughout Russia (west Siberian plain following Dubatolov 2012), eastwards to Japan (anonymous 2012). In Europe, the species has been recorded from most countries, except from the Iberian and the Balkan peninsula, the Mediterranean islands, as well as the north-west and the east of European Russia (Karsholt, 2004). Vertically, records have been documented from the colline level up to about 1150 m a.s.l. (Kurz & Kurz 2020).


E. sparrmannella is found around birch trees, where the imagines fly in full sunshine from late April to May. Larvae can be found from late May to August (Heath 1983, Kurz & Kurz 2020).

Stages in development:

Early mine (initial galery): Salzburg, city of Salzburg, Sam, Sam Moos, 2018.05.30, , leg. et coll. Michael Kurz Mine on Betula pubescens: Salzburg, city of Salzburg, Sam, Sam Moos, 2015.05.09, leg. et coll. Michael Kurz    
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view

Morphology of preimaginal stages (Heath 1983).

Egg. The egg is laid on a leaf of birch (Betula sp.).

Larva. The larva is whitish with a brown flat head, bearing a darker brown spot on each side. It feeds in a blotch-like mine, which initially starts as a gallery near the midrib. Full-fed, the larva leaves the mine and pupates in the ground.

Pupa. The pupa rests in a though, silken cocoon.


abdomen, prep.-no. 1010, M. Kurz: Austria, Salzburg, Gois, Goiser Moos, 436m, 2011.04.17, leg. et coll. C. Zeller scheme of male genitalia -genitalia, prep.-no. 1010, M. Kurz: Austria, Salzburg, Gois, Goiser Moos, 436m, 2011.04.17, leg. et coll. C. Zeller  
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: © Zagulayev 1978
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view

Pregenital abdomen. Male without sensorium on sternite V.

genitalia. Uncus with two big lobes, there rounded posterior tips with short spinoid setae at inner surface; valves very much reduced, rounded, at inner surface with very short spinoid setae in 2-3 rows near posterior margin; branches of saccus as long as ventral margin of vinculum, slender, with rounded tips; aedeagus and paramere more than twice as long as ventral margin of vinculum, paramere with hook-like posterior tip.


Picture from: © Zagulayev 1978
Detailed view
Picture from: © Zagulayev 1978
Detailed view
Picture from: Pierce & Metcalfe (1935) aus Burmann (1958)
Detailed view

Externally, Eriocrania subpurpurella (Haworth, 1828) is quite similar, but has more elongated wings and normally is less intensively marked. Similar in wing shape to E. sparrmannella is Eriocrania salopiella (Stainton, 1854), although the latter has more expanded purple markings, which are often also heavily mixed shining blueish.

In the male genitalia, the appendices of the tegumen are distinctly shorter in E. subpurpurella than in E. sparrmannella, whereas in E. salopiella these appendices are distinctly longer and more delicate.

Worth knowing:


anonymous 2012. An Identification Guide of Japanese Moths Compiled by Everyone. URL: http://www.jpmoth.org [online 04 November 2012].
Bosc, L. 1791. Descriptions of two new species of Phalaena. Transactions of the Linnean Society of London 1: 196-197, pl. 17, fig. 6, 7.
Dubatolov, V. V. 2012. Collection of Siberian Zoological Museum: Eriocraniidae. http://szmn.sbras.ru/Lepidop/Eriocran.htm [online 04 November 2012].

Griffith, M. A. 1891. Micropteryx caledoniella: Another new species, probably from Birch. The Entomologist´s monthly magazine, 27: 300.
Haworth, A. H. 1828. Lepidoptera Britannica, sistens digestionem novam insectorum lepidopterorum quae in Magna Britannia reperiuntur, lavarum pabulo, temporeque pascendi; expansione alarum; mensibusque volandi; synonymis atque locis observationibusque variis. Part 4. Londini, pp. 513–609.
Heath, J. 1983. The moths and butterflies of Great Britain and Ireland, Vol.I: Micropterigidae – Heliozelidae. – Harley Books, Martins, Great Horkesley, Colchester, Essex.
Karsholt, O. 2004. Families Acanthopteroctetidae, Axiidae, Castniidae, Cossidae, Drepanidae, Eriocottidae, Eriocraniidae, Gelechiidae, Heterogynidae, Limacodidae, Lypusidae, Micropterigidae, Roeslerstammiidae, Somabrachyidae, Uraniidae. In: Karsholt, O. & E. J. van Nieukerken (eds.). Lepidoptera, Moths. – Fauna Europaea version 1.1, http://www.faunaeur.org [online 29 April 2008].
Kurz, M. A. & M. E. Kurz 2000–2020. Naturkundliches Informationssystem. – URL: http://www.nkis.info [online 2020.05.11].
Walsingham, Lord M. A. 1900. A new Eriocrania from England. The Entomologist´s monthly magazine, 36: 106-107.
Zagulajev, A.K. 1978. Eriocraniidae; in G.S. Medvedev (ed.): Keys to the insects of the europaean part of the USSR, Vol.IV: Lepidoptera, part 1 (english translation), Oxonian Press Pvt.Ltd., New Dehli, 1987

Publication data:

Kurz Michael: 2009.05.26
Kurz Michael: 2010.12.02
Kurz Michael: 2012.11.04
Kurz Michael: 2012.11.11
Kurz Michael: 2012.11.26
Kurz Michael: 2013.01.20
Kurz Michael: 2013.07.04
Kurz Michael: 2015.10.19
Kurz Michael: 2017.03.01
Kurz Michael: 2018.09.19
Kurz Michael: 2020.05.05
Kurz Michael: 2020.05.11
not reviewed