Micropterix is a genus of small primitive metallic moths, in the insect order lepidoptera within the family Micropterigidae. The name was raised by the German entomologist, Jacob Hübner in 1825 and comes from the Greek for mikros, little and pterux, a wing.[1] The moths are distributed across Europe, south to North Africa and east as far as Japan.

Micropterix aureatella (Scopoli, 1763)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Micropterigidae
Genus: Micropterix
Hübner, 1825

See text

  • Micropteryx Zeller, 1839
  • Eriocephala Curtis, 1839
  • Microptericina Zagulajev, 1983


The moths are small, with the forewing ranging in size from 2.5 mm to 5.5 mm, and at rest they are held at a steep angle, tent-like over the body. Unique among the lepidoptera, the moths have chewing mouthparts rather than a proboscis and are most easily seen feeding, often in large aggregations, on the pollen of the flowers of many herbaceous plants, shrubs and trees.[2][3]

Edward Meyrick describes the moth as:[4]

Mandibles developed. No tongue. Labial palpi obsolete. Posterior tibiae with spurs placed in groups of bristles. Forewings: vein 7 to costa, vein 11 connected by bar with vein 12, 12 giving rise to an additional vein (13) about middle. Hindwings as forewings, but vein 13 usually absent.


Eggs are translucent white and laid amongst vegetation on the surface of the soil.[3]


The life history of the early stages is more or less unknown but larva have been found in the young shoots of plants, or obtained by the funnel extraction of woodland turf samples, from a depth of up to 10 cm. It appears there are only three instars and they probably feed on minute particles of leaf-litter or possibly fungal hyphae.[2][3][5]


For many species the pupa is unknown, but of those found it is within a tough silken cocoon.[3]


Micropterix contains the following species:


  1. ^ Smith, Frank. "Microlepidoptera (Micro-Moths)" (PDF). Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Federation for Biological Recorders. Retrieved 27 June 2021.
  2. ^ a b Sterling, Phil; Parsons, Mark; Lewington, Richard (2012). Field Guide to the Micromoths of Great Britain and Ireland. Milton-on-Stour: British Wildlife Publishing. p. 46. ISBN 978 0 9564902 1 6.
  3. ^ a b c d Heath, John (1983). Micropterigidae. In The Moths and Butterflies of Great Britain and Ireland. Volume 1. Colchester: Harley Books. p. 151. ISBN 0 946589 15 1.
  4. ^ Meyrick, E., 1895 A Handbook of British Lepidoptera MacMillan, London pdf   This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain. Keys and description
  5. ^ Kimber, Ian. "Micropterix tunbergella (Fabricius, 1787)". UKmoths. Retrieved 27 June 2021.

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