Micropterix tunbergella

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Micropterix tunbergella
Micropterix tunbergella, Loggerheads, North Wales
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Micropterigidae
Genus: Micropterix
M. tunbergella
Binomial name
Micropterix tunbergella
(Fabricius, 1787)
    • Tinea tunbergella Fabricius, 1787
    • Tinea helwigella Hübner, 1805
    • Tinea rubrifasciella Haworth, 1828
    • Micropteryx depictella Herrich-Schäffer, 1851

Micropterix tunbergella is a moth of the family Micropterigidae found in most of Europe. The moths are very small and can be found feeding on the pollen of hawthorn, oak and sycamore. The larva and pupa are unknown. The moth was described Johan Christian Fabricius in 1787.


The moth was first described from a specimen found in Germany, by the Danish zoologist, Johan Christian Fabricius in 1787. He named it Tinea tunbergella. Tinea – a ″gnawing worm″, was first used by the father of modern taxonomy Carl Linnaeus, in his Systema Naturae published in 1758 and was applied to various larvae, including those Lepidoptera which ruined clothing. Micropterix was raised by Jacob Hübner and the name comes from the small size of the adult; Mikros – ″little″ and pterux – ″a wing″. The specific part of the name tunbergella is after the Swedish naturalist Carl Peter Thunberg (1743–1828).[2]


The wingspan is 8–11 millimetres (0.31–0.43 in).[3] The forewing is reddish-purple with indistinct dull golden markings present in the apical third of the forewing. The head is golden-yellow.[4] Moths in the family Micropterigidae are different from other moths, as they have chewing mouthparts, and this species is on wing during the day in May and June feeding on the pollen of various flowering plants, including cherry laurel, oaks (Quercus species), sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus) and hawthorns (Crataegus) species.[5][6][7]

The larva, their food plant(s) and the pupa are not known.[8]


It is found in most of Europe, except Bulgaria, Croatia, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg Portugal, Slovenia and Ukraine.[1]


  1. ^ a b "Micropterix tunbergella (Fabricius, 1787)". Fauna Europaea. Retrieved 26 July 2021.
  2. ^ Emmet, A Maitland (1991). The Scientific Names of the British Lepidoptera. Their history and meaning. Colchestr: Harley Books. pp. 42 & 59. ISBN 0-946589-35-6.
  3. ^ Kimber, Ian. "Micropterix tunbergella (Fabricius, 1787)". UKmoths. Retrieved 18 July 2021.
  4. ^ Whitebread, S (1992). "The Micropterigidae of Switzerland, with a key to their identification (Lepidoptera)" (PDF). Nota Lepid. Supplement No. 4: 129–143.
  5. ^ "Micropterix tunbergella (Fabricius, 1787)". Microlepidoptera.nl. Retrieved 18 July 2021.
  6. ^ Manley, Chris (2021). British & Irish Moths (Third ed.). London: Bloomsbury Wildlife. p. 20–1. ISBN 978-1-4729-7520-1.
  7. ^ Sterling, Phil; Parsons, Mark; Lewington, Richard (2012). Field Guide to the Micromoths of Great Britain and Ireland. Gillingham, Dorset: British Wildlife Publishing. p. 46-7. ISBN 978-0-9564902-1-6.
  8. ^ Heath, John (1983). Micropterigidae. In The Moths and Butterflies of Great Britain and Ireland. Volume 1. Colchester: Harley Books. p. 152. ISBN 0-946589-15-1.