Harpella forficella

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Harpella forficella
Harpella forficella (female)

Harpella forficella (female)

Order : Butterflies (Lepidoptera)
Family : Rottenwood moths (Oecophoridae)
Subfamily : Oecophorinae
Tribe : Oecophorini
Genre : Harpella
Type : Harpella forficella
Scientific name
Harpella forficella
( Scopoli , 1763)
Harpella forficella , the upward stretched palps clearly visible
Dorsal view

Harpella forficella is a butterfly fromthe rottenwood moth family (Oecophoridae).


Harpella forficella has a brownish-yellow wing pattern that is only slightly variable. The wingspan is between 20 and 27 millimeters. The moths have noticeably long, upwardly directed palps ( mouthparts or "feelers"). Sex dimorphism is not pronounced.

The caterpillars are light gray and have gray spots and dark hairy warts. The head and neck shield are colored brown.

The doll is yellow-brown.


Harpella forficella is widespread in Europe. In 2011 the butterfly species was first recorded in the British Isles .

Way of life

The females lay the eggs on the trunks of the trees from late summer to autumn. The hatched caterpillars dig into rotten bark or decaying wood. The caterpillars are found in deciduous forests, where they feed on tree sponges and fungal mycelia in deadwood and tree bark. They live individually or in small groups and create tightly woven corridors between the bark and wood or deep in the dead wood. Hollow spaces in the wood are filled with yellow to red-brown droppings, from the outside there are no visible traces. It was also found that the caterpillars also feed on the coal ball mushroom ( Daldinia concentrica ). The caterpillars overwinter in stumps or similar rot wood until April or May and then continue their development. They pupate in a section of the feeding passage lined with a web. The prepared loophole is covered with a thick web. The moths fly in Central Europe from June to August. They can be found in the afternoon and early evening and at dawn. The moths rarely come to light .


The following synonyms are known from the literature :

  • Tinea majorella Denis & Schiffermüller , 1775
  • Phalaena proboscidella Sulzer , 1776
  • Harpella aerisella Caradja , 1920

Individual evidence

  1. a b c Küppers, Peter V .: Small butterflies. Recognize, determine. Fauna Verlag 2008, ISBN 978-3-935-980-24-1 . P. 142
  2. a b c Harpella forficella (SCOPOLI, 1763). Lepiforum e. V .: Determination aid of the Lepiforum for the butterfly species found in Germany, Austria and Switzerland., Accessed on October 11, 2016 .
  3. Harpella forficella in Fauna Europaea. Retrieved October 11, 2016
  4. Harpella forficella . ukmoths. 2015.
  5. a b c Harpella forficella . Sussex Moth Group. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
  6. a b Buchsbaum, Ulf (1992): Oecophoridae studies I: The breeding of Harpella forficella Scopoli, 1763 with notes on the way of life and biology. Atalanta 23 (3/4), pages 623-625
  7. a b Karl Traugott Schütze: The biology of the small butterflies with special consideration of their nutrient plants and times of appearance. Handbook of Microlepidoptera. Caterpillar calendar arranged according to the illustrated German Flora by H. Wagner. Frankfurt am Main, publishing house of the International Entomological Association e. V., 1931, p. 208

Web links

Commons : Harpella forficella  - album with pictures, videos and audio files