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Olle Pellmyr
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Containing group: Prodoxidae


Lampronia is a genus of more than 25 described species, and additional undescribed species known from North America, Japan, and Iran. Most of the small to medium-sized moths have a golden or dark ground color; while some species are unicolored, many of them have forewings with a few to numerous white or yellowish spots distributed across the forewing.

Most species fly during the day, with some being active into dusk. Being the poor cousins of yucca moths, this group has received little attention from biologists, and with the exception of two economically important species we know little except the species of host plant.

Lampronia corticella and L. capitella are of limited importance as pests on raspberry (Rubus idaea) and currants (Ribes spp.), respectively. Both species have been accidentally introduced in North America.

Please note that entries for Palaearctic Lampronia are based on often scarce literature as I have little first-hand experience with them. Treatments may be incomplete or obsolete, and corrections and additions from local entomologists would be gratefully accepted.


Lampronia has not been formally revised, but the realignment of Incurvaria and Lampronia (Nielsen 1982) and discovery of numerous species in recent years makes the genus ripe for study. It is a heterogeneous assemblage, with several groups clearly defined on synapomorphic grounds, and there may be grounds for subdivision to bring generic diversity in line with thge remainder of the family.

As currently defined, Lampronia is characterized by the combined presence of two traits:

These traits appear in isolation in, e.g. Agavenema and some Greya species, but appear to be combined only in these taxa. These are highly variable traits, though, and more robust characters should be sought.

Life habits of immature stages

The biology is known in part for several species, and particularly well for L. corticella (Hill 1952). With a single exception, eggs are laid singly inside floral or vegetative buds of the host plant. Credible reported hosts include members of Rosaceae, Grossulariaceae, and Saxifragaceae, and, for a single species with different biology, Betulaceae. A report of Asteraceae as a host for one species needs confirmation.

The hatching larva feeds inside the bud on fleshy tissue or seeds for several instars. In L. corticella, the third instar overwinters in a tightly spun cocoon at the base of the host plant and ascends onto the plant in the spring to consume additional buds from within or from a spun shelter. Pupation occurs either inside the feeding galleries or in a separate cocoon.

The European L. fuscatella has a divergent life history: eggs are laid inside Betula twigs, and the larva feeds and eventually pupates within a gall.

Geographic distribution

Lampronia is Holarctic in distribution, with many more taxa in the Palaearctic than the Nearctic region. Undescribed taxa are known from Japan and Iran (Nielsen 1982). Numerous species have been described from eastern Asia in the last two decades, and this region is likely to yield any additional taxa.

Discussion of Phylogenetic Relationships

Lampronia has historically been phylogenetically entangled with Incurvaria (Incurvariidae), but differs in possessing the stellate signa and rounded sternum that are family synapomorphies of Prodoxidae. For comparison, synapomorphies for Incurvariidae include flattened scale-shaped spines and a loss of well-defined pectinifers on the male valva. Final rearragement of Incurvarioidea into monophyletic families by Nielsen (1982) led to the placement of Lampronia as a restricted entity in a basal position within Prodoxidae.

Lampronia is a relatively heterogeneous entity that has not been subject to a comprehensive revision. Proposed synapomorphies (Nielsen & Davis 1985), that can only be considered in combination, include:

Davis (1978) erected Tanysaccus based on a long saccus/vinculum, an asymmetric ovipositor tip, and four maxillary segments, but examination of other Lampronia showed these traits to be highly variable within the genus; Tanysaccus was synonymized, but considered a monophyletic entity that may retain subgeneric status.

Phylogenetic relationships have been proposed for specific taxa within the genus:


Davis, D.R. 1978. Two new genera of North American incurvariine moths (Lepidoptera: Incurvariidae). Pan-Pacif. Entomol. 54:147-153.

Davis, D.R. 1987. Incurvarioidea. In: F. Stehr (ed.) An introduction to the immature insects of North America. Kendall-Hunt, Dubuque, IA.

Davis, D.R., O. Pellmyr & J.N. Thompson. 1992. Biology and systematics of Greya Busck and Tetragma n. gen. (Lepidoptera: Prodoxidae). Smiths. Contrib. Zool. 524:1-88.

Kozlov, M.A. 1996. Incurvariidae and Prodoxidae (Lepidoptera) from Siberia and the Russian Far East, with descriptions of two new species. Entomol. Fenn. 7:55-62.

Heath, J. & E.C. Pelham-Clinton. 1976. The moths and futterflies of Great Britain and Ireland, vol I: Incurvariidae. Blackwell Scientific Press and Curwen Press.

Nielsen, E.S. 1982. Incurvariidae and Prodoxidae from the Himalayan area (Lepidoptera: Incurvarioidea). Ins. Matsum. 26:187-200.

Nielsen, E.S. & D.R. Davis. 1985. The first southern hemisphere prodoxid and the phylogeny of the Incurvarioidea (Lepidoptera). Syst. Entom. 10:307-322.

Razowski, J. 1978. Motyle (Lepidoptera) Polski III: Adeloidea. Panstwowe wydawnictwo naukowe, Warsaw

Wojtusiak, J. 1976. Klucze do oznaczania owadow polski XXIII:7-8. Lepidoptera: Heliozelidae and Incurvariidae. Panstwowe wydawnictwo naukowe, Warsaw.

Zagulayaev, A.K. 1978. Incurvariidae. Pp. 110-129 in Medvedev, G.S. (ed.) Keys to the nsects of the European part of the USSR. Nauka Publishers, Leningrad.

Title Illustrations
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Scientific Name Lampronia (Tanysaccus) aenescens
Location Whitman Co., Washington, USA
Specimen Condition Dead Specimen
Sex Male
Image Use creative commons This media file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License - Version 3.0.
Copyright © 1996
Scientific Name Lampronia oregonella
Location San Juan Co, Colorado, USA
Specimen Condition Dead Specimen
Sex Male
Image Use creative commons This media file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License - Version 3.0.
Copyright © 1996
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University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho, USA

Page: Tree of Life Lampronia. Authored by Olle Pellmyr. The TEXT of this page is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License - Version 3.0. Note that images and other media featured on this page are each governed by their own license, and they may or may not be available for reuse. Click on an image or a media link to access the media data window, which provides the relevant licensing information. For the general terms and conditions of ToL material reuse and redistribution, please see the Tree of Life Copyright Policies.

Citing this page:

Pellmyr, Olle. 1997. Lampronia. Version 01 January 1997 (under construction). http://tolweb.org/Lampronia/12411/1997.01.01 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/

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