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Elachista is a genus of gelechioid moths described by Georg Friedrich Treitschke in 1833. It is the type genus of the grass-miner moth family (Elachistidae). This family is sometimes (in particular in older sources) circumscribed very loosely, including for example the Agonoxenidae and Ethmiidae which seem to be quite distinct among the Gelechioidea, as well as other lineages which are widely held to be closer to Oecophora than to Elachista and are thus placed in the concealer moth family Oecophoridae here.[1]

Elachista argentella-01 (xndr).jpg
Adult Elachista argentella
at IJmuiden, the Netherlands
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Clade: Euarthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Elachistidae
Subfamily: Elachistinae
Genus: Elachista
Treitschke in Ochsenheimer, 1833
Type species
Elachista bifasciella
Treitschke in Ochsenheimer, 1833

Numerous, see text


Numerous, see text

These grass-miners are very small moths with the "feathery" hindwings characteristic of their family. They are essentially found worldwide, except in very cold places and on some oceanic islands; as usual for Gelechioidea, they are most common in the Palearctic however. They usually have at least one, sometimes as many as three light bands running from leading to trailing edge of their forewing uppersides. Some species, however, have upper forewings that are mostly white.[2]


Selected speciesEdit

Not all species of this large genus have been discovered yet, let alone validly described and named. Several small genera, e.g. Biselachista and Cosmiotes, are here included in Elachista as junior synonyms (see below). They seem to be at least as closely related to E. bifasciella (the type species of the present genus) than other species commonly placed here, if not actually closer. In addition, Elachista contains several cryptic species complexes – such as the one around E. dispunctella and E. triseriatella – whose systematics and taxonomy are still not fully resolved.[3]

A number of Elachista species have been assigned to one of several groups, which may or may not be monophyletic, and whose names in the literature do not consistently follow the usual taxonomic practice (i.e. using as namesake the group-member which was described first). Some of these groups are placed in either of the two large subgenera Elachista (Aphelosetia) and Elachista (Elachista). Other proposed subgenera – the small Elachista (Dibrachia) and Elachista (Hemiprosopa) – are here included in the species of unclear relationships; like some small species-groups, they stand a chance of rendering the two larger subgenera paraphyletic if accepted as distinct, but seem too unlike them to warrant placement in either.[4]

Subgenus Elachista (Aphelosetia)Edit

argentella group (sometimes in bedellella group)

Adult male Elachista pullicomella specimen from Tvärminne, Hanko Peninsula, Finland

bedellella/unifasciella group (including collitella group)

Elachista (Aphelosetia) incertae sedis

Subgenus Elachista (Atachia)Edit

These are sorted in the presumed phylogenetic sequence.[6]

gerasmia group, gerasmia section

gerasmia group, catarata section

erebophthalma group

puplesisi group

Subgenus Elachista (Hemiprosopa)Edit

Subgenus Elachista (Elachista)Edit

Adult female Elachista apicipunctella specimen from Sonkajärvi (Finland)
Adult Elachista maculicerusella specimen from Hellerup (Denmark)
Adult male Elachista gleichenella specimen from Kangasniemi (Finland)
Adult male Elachista humilis specimen from Sonkajärvi (Finland)
Adult female Elachista exactella specimen from Sonkajärvi, Finland
Adult male Elachista exactella specimen
Adult Elachista synethes specimen ventral

"Cosmiotes"/freyerella group

Adult female Elachista eleochariella specimen from Sonkajärvi (Finland)

tetragonella group

Elachista (Elachista) incertae sedis

Other groupsEdit

Some Elachista are divided into groups whose relationships to the two large subgenera requires further study, including:[8]

Incertae sedisEdit

Additional Elachista species are of even more uncertain relationships than usual for this genus:[9]

Placement within Elachista uncertainEdit

Excluded speciesEdit

The following species are excluded from the Elachista genus, but have not yet been placed in another genus:

Former speciesEdit


Invalid scientific names (junior synonyms and others) of Elachista in the circumscription as presented here are:[10]


  1. ^ AEBR (2008), FE (2009)
  2. ^ AEBR (2008), FE (2009), and see references in Savela (2008)
  3. ^ Kusdas & Reichl (1973): 194, Pitkin & Jenkins (2004), AEBR (2008), FE (2009), and see references in Savela (2008)
  4. ^ FE (2009), Wikispecies (2009-SEP-27), and see references in Savela (2008)
  5. ^ a b c d See references in Savela (2008)
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Kaila (2011)
  7. ^ a b Sorted in the presumed phylogenetic sequence (Kaila, 2011).
  8. ^ ABRS (2008), FE (2009), Wikispecies (2009-SEP-27)
  9. ^ Wikispecies (2009-SEP-27), and see references in Savela (2008)
  10. ^ AEBR (2008), FE (2009), Wikispecies (2009-SEP-27), and see references in Savela (2008)


  Data related to Elachista at Wikispecies