Currently viewing the category: "Microlepidoptera"

Black and White Striped Unidentified insect
Location: Montana
December 31, 2010 12:39 am
Hello. I have a random insect that appeared in my home a couple days ago. I live in Bozeman, MT and I had a Fraser fir in my house and I also have a couple herbs growing in my kitchen (basil, oregano, thyme). My camera wouldn’t focus any closer but zoomed in the picture is fairly good. Thank you very much.
Signature: Jenny

Unknown Small Moth

Hi Jenny,
This is a moth, and since it is small, it is somewhat unscientifically categorized as a Microlepidoptera.  We tried scanning the plates on the Moth Photographers Group without any success.  It looks similar to a Clothes Moth in the genus
Eudarcia that is pictured on BugGuide, be we are confident that is not the correct classification for your specimen.  We do believe your moth is neither a Clothes Moth nor a Pantry Moth, and it may have been transported on the Christmas tree.  You did not indicate if this was an isolated specimen or part of an infestation.  Perhaps one of our readers will have better luck with a species identification.

Friend or foe?
April 24, 2010
We have a ‘plague’ of these in our vegetable garden which backs on to woodland. They fly when disturbed but seem to prefer to be resting. Really only need to know if they are friend or foe. Their wings shimmer slightly as if covered in fine gold leaf.
Gill Kendrick
Central England


Hi Gill,
At first we thought that this might be a Caddisfly.  According to BugGuide, which only covers North American species, “Adults resemble moths, but wings are hairy instead of scaly.
”  We decided to search the UK Moths website though, and we believe we identified your insect as a tiny moth, known as Microlepidoptera, and possibly the species Micropteris calthella which is described on UK Moths as “Wingspan 7-10 mm.  Another tiny species, with a wingspan of around 8 to 10mm, this moth has metallic bronzy forewings, with purplish tinges in places. Like other Micropterix species, it has a tuft of hairs on the head.  It occurs throughout most of Britain, and can be found flying in the daytime in May and June, where it feeds on the pollen of various plants.”  An even closer match might be Eriocrania semipurpurella, which UK Moths describes as “Wingspan 10-16 mm.  The commonest and most widespread of the Eriocrania species that feed on birch, occurring throughout most of Britain.  The adults are difficult to tell apart from E. sangii without reference to the genitalia structure, but the larvae are quite different, semipurpurella being white or yellowish, sangii being quite dark grey.   The larva itself mines in a birch (Betula) leaf, forming a large blotch, from March to May. The adults fly in March and April, especially in sunshine.”  We don’t believe we have the skill to definitively identify this Microlepidoptera, but you might have better luck trying to sort through the 2012 Moth species on the site UKMoths.  Friend or Foe is relative.

Identification Request
April 6, 2010
I sent my question on the site and not with an e-mail.
If you can help me to identify this insect I send you the photo by this e-mail.
This insect was photographied in Costa Rica in the Monteverde reserve, in the cloud forest in March 2010.
I am not a specialist of insects but I suppose it is an heteropter, family of pentatomidae. It is a jewel!!!
Thank you for your help.
Best regards,

Unknown Insect

Dear MAB,
This is a mystery, but we would rule out a member of the family Pentatomidae.  This may be a Planthopper in the superfamily Fulgoroidea.  We wish the view of the head was clearer as that could assist in the identification.  We also wouldn’t rule out a Moth, bug again, the details of the head would help.  Perhaps one of our readers who has traveled to Costa Rica, like Karl, may recognize this mystery.

Unfortunately I didn’t see anything quite like this. Your hunch was right Daniel, this is a moth. It belongs to the Tortricidae (Tortrix Moths or Leaf-rollers), a very large family usually included in the Micropepidoptera.  Most Tortrix moths are rather small and non-descript; this one is obviously a beautiful exception. I found an illustration and description of this moth in the “Biologia Centrali-Americana” by Walsingham (1905-1915) under the name Idolatteria pyrops. That still appears to be an accepted name but I could find no more recent information about it. To confuse the issue, I did find a wonderful photo under the name Pseudodatteria leopardina on the “Animals and Earth” site. I suspect this species has undergone some taxonomic revision since it was first described. Coincidentally, the photo is credited to that old friend of WTB?, Piotr Naskrecki, and it is tagged as a rare diurnal moth from Costa Rica. Perhaps Piotr can provide some additional information. Regards.

Dear Daniel,
Thank you very much for your prompt and documented answer. Thanks to Karl too!!
I did not suppose it was a moth!!
… Best regards,

Piotr Naskrecki verifies identification
Hi Daniel,
This moth is almost certainly Pseudatteria leopardina, a diurnal tortricid
from high elevation Central America

4 legged stick bug about 5mm long
January 4, 2010
I found this little guy on my kitchen wall, January 4, 2010. There’s about 15 cm of snow on the ground outside, temperature is about -1C. I’ve seen this kind of bug before both inside & outside. Any idea what it is?
Jan, Nova Scotia, Canada
2 km from Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia

Unknown Moth

Unknown Moth

Dear Jan,
Moths that are this tiny are called Microlepidoptera, and we must confess that the proper identification of species of Microlepidoptera is well beyond our means.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to supply an answer.

Unknown Moth

Unknown Moth

Your response is greatly appreciated. I had no idea it is a moth!

Gray Insect on a Citrus Leaf
I was examining the fruits of my bitter orange citrus tree in Miami, Florida when I found this gray insect on one of the leaves. I suspect it’s some type of beetle. Can you please identify the insect? Also, do you happen to know what those white and brown streaks on the leaf are and whether or not they were produced by the insect?

Hi Rob,
Your gray insect is a Sri Lanka Weevil,
Myllocerus undecimpustulatus, an invasive species from Sri Lanka that feeds on at least 55 plant species in Florida including citrus. Read more on BugGuide and the Featured Creatures site. You have another problem with your citrus. Beneath the Little Leaf Notcher Weevil are what appear to be tunnels produced by the Citrus Leaf Miner, Phyllocnistis citrella, a tiny moth, and according to BugGuide:  “Native to Asia; first found in Florida in 1993. Now found all over the world.”

Thank you for all the information! I thought that perhaps the weevil was responsible for the tunnels on the leaf; thanks for clarifying that a citrus leaf miner was the true culprit. My citrus tree has been left unattended for quite some time, so it has become home to various insects.