Nothris verbascella

Karsholt, Ole & Šumpich, Jan, 2015, A review of the genus Nothris Hübner, 1825, with description of new species (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae), Zootaxa 4059 (3), pp. 471-498: 483-486

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Nothris verbascella


Nothris verbascella  ([ Denis & Schiffermüller], 1775)

( Figs 14–18 View Figure , 62–69 View Figure , 111 View Figure , 129– 130 View Figure )

Tinea verbascella  [ Denis & Schiffermüller], 1775: 136. Its description has been erroneusly attributed to Hübner (1796) (see Sattler 1973: 229)

Nothris discretella Rebel, 1889: 318  , pl. 8, fig. 14 syn. n.

Nothris verbascella clarella Amsel, 1935: 298  , pl. 10, fig. 54 syn. n.

Type material examined. Holotype ( discretella  ) ♂: ‘Holotype’ | ‘Graz 24.VIII. 88 ’ | ‘ 60 coll. Rbl. Vind.’ | ‘ Discretella  Rbl. Type. %’ | ‘ Holotype ♂ Nothris discretella Rebel  teste K. Sattler, 1969 ’ | ‘ Type photographed’ | ‘Mus. Vind. Gen. Präp. 3474 ♂’ ( NHMWAbout NHMW); (clarella) ♂, ‘‘Jericho (Pal) Lichtfang 28.4. 1930 H. Amsel’ | ‘ Paratypus leg. H. Amsel’ | ‘♂’ ( NHMWAbout NHMW).

Other material studied. Austria (7), Bulgaria (4), Czech Republic (15), Denmark (222), France (14), France (2), Corse (3), Greece (31), Greece, Crete (4), Hungary (1), Italy (13), Italy, Sardinia (2), Italy, Sicily (4), Slovakia (2), Spain (14), Sweden (10).

Croatia. Zengg, 1 ♂, leg. Dobias ( ZMUCAbout ZMUC); Pelješac Peninsula, Žuljana, 100 m, 1–13.vii. 2005, 3 ♂, leg. J. Šumpich ( NMPCAbout NMPC); Pirovac env., Tijesno, 15.– 17.vii. 2003, 1 ♂, leg. J. Šumpich ( NMPCAbout NMPC). Greece. Samos, 1 km N Spatharei, 700 m, 1 ♀, 19–21.v. 2009, leg. G. Jeppesen et al. ( ZMUCAbout ZMUC). Israel. Tel Aviv, 1 ♂, 18.iv. [19] 25, Bodenheimer leg. ( NHMWAbout NHMW). Lebanon. Becharré (= Bcharre), 1400 m, 2 ♂, 11– [19] 31, 2 ♂, 21– [19] 31, leg. Zerny ( NHMWAbout NHMW). Macedonia. Galicica NP, 3.4 km NNE Stenje, Oteshevo, 850 m, 1 ♀, 2013, leg. P. Skou ( ZMUCAbout ZMUC). Morocco. 40 km S Larache, 0–20 m, 2 ♂, 23–24.iv. 1989, leg. O. Karsholt ( ZMUCAbout ZMUC). Serbia, Vojvodina, Bǎcka Topola, 1 ♂, 23.viii. 1986, leg. E. Baraniak ( ZMUCAbout ZMUC). Turkey. Antalya, Beydaglari, 17 km E Göltaria, 1800 m, 1 ♂, 8.viii. 1997, leg. K. Larsen ( ZMUCAbout ZMUC); Antalya, Saklikent, 1850 m, 1 ♂, 1 ♀, 19.x. 2000, leg. P. Svendsen ( ZMUCAbout ZMUC); Bolu, Fakilar Pass, 1100 m, 1 ♂, 1987, leg. F. Fibiger ( ZMUCAbout ZMUC); Erzinean, Kizildag, Geçidi, 2100 m, 1 ♀, 19.viii. 1993, leg. F. Schepler ( ZMUCAbout ZMUC); Erzurum, Kop Geçidi, 1750 m, 1 ♂, 15–16.ix. 1993, leg. M. Fibiger ( ZMUCAbout ZMUC); Erzurum, 10 km S Erzurum, 2200 m, 1 ♂, 20.vii. 1989, leg. M. Fibiger & N. Esser ( ZMUCAbout ZMUC); Isparta, Bagkonak, 1650 m, 1 ♀, 22.vii. 1996, leg. K. E. Stougaard ( ZMUCAbout ZMUC); Kars, 3 km E Karakut, 1450 m, 2 ♂, 12.ix. 1993, leg. M. Fibiger ( ZMUCAbout ZMUC); Kayseri, Erdschias Mts., 1 ♂,, leg. Penther ( NHMWAbout NHMW); Kayseri, 8 km SE Pinarbaşi, 1400 m, 1 ♂, 23–26.ix. 1993, leg. F. Schepler ( ZMUCAbout ZMUC); Kayseri, 2 km W Inces, 1100 m, 1 ♂, 30.ix– 1.x. 1993, leg. F. Schepler ( ZMUCAbout ZMUC); Kayseri, Incesu, 1100 m, 1 ♂, 28.vii. 1996, leg. K. E. Stougaard ( ZMUCAbout ZMUC); Konya, Eskihisar, 12 km E Ivriz, 1100 m, 1 ♂, 28.vii. 1997, leg. K. Larsen ( ZMUCAbout ZMUC); Mersin, 10 km SE Arslanköy Taurus, 1300m, 1 ♂, 13.vii. 1987, leg. M. Fibiger ( ZMUCAbout ZMUC); Nevşehir, 10 km V Ürgüp, Göreme, 1300 m, 2 ♀, 2– 6.x. 1993, leg. F. Schepler ( ZMUCAbout ZMUC); Sivas, 12 km S Gürün, Gökpinar, 1500 m, 1 ♂, 25.vii. 1998, leg. K. Larsen ( ZMUCAbout ZMUC).

Description. Adult ( Figs 14–18 View Figure ). Wingspan 16–23 mm. Segment 2 of labial palpus black at base, apically white, especially on inner surface; segment 3 cream-white. Scape of antenna black; flagellum light yellow-brown, indistinctly darker ringed. Head cream-white, darker in middle; thorax and tegula as forewing. Forewing light yellow-brown with black spots at base, in fold and at ½ and 2 / 3 in middle of wing: scattered black scales along veins, especially in apical part; black spots along termen; cilia grey with dark grey cilia line. Hindwing grey.

Variation. A moderately variable species. The colour of the forewing varies from light yellow to brown, and the amount of black scales in the forewing varies from few to numerous. In some specimens the black spot at 2 / 3 is very prominent. Specimens from the south-eastern part of the distribution area have generally lighter yellow forewings (see also Remarks). Specimens bred from larvae are sometimes clearly smaller that specimens collected as adults.

Male genitalia ( Figs 62–69 View Figure ). Valva very narrow, slightly broadening apically, with an indistinct conchoidal bulge at base and covered with setae in its distal part. Uncus broad, bluntly terminated, slightly tapering apically. Gnathos narrow, arcuate, strongly sclerotized in its last third. Sacculus narrow, long, markedly bent in middle, tapering apically, from the bend to the apex covered with strong sclerotized spines. Saccus thumb-like. Phallus comparatively short, terminated by a filiform flagellum forming one loop. Coecum bulbous.

Female genitalia ( Figs 111 View Figure , 129–130 View Figure ). Papillae anales thin, elongated. Apophyses posteriores comparatively long, approximately two times as long as apophyses anteriores. Subgenital plate very narrow, slightly more narrow distally. Ductus bursae comparatively short and broad in its whole length, membranous, distally straight, proximally approximately four times coiled. Ductus seminalis broad and membranous at first, then tapered and forming a loop, spined. Corpus bursae oval, elongated, signum conspicuous, basal plate broad, elongated, terminally rounded with two large lateral plates which together form a circle.

Differential diagnosis. N. verbascella  is characterized by its yellowish or light brownish forewings with three black dots and scattered black scales. It may be confused with the somewhat lighter N. skyvai  (for differences see under this species). See also N. congressariella  .

In the male genitalia an easily distinguishable species with respect to the very narrow and markedly curved sacculus, short gnathos and a thumb-like saccus. Females are easily distinguishable with respect to the long and narrow papillae anales, narrow subgenital plate and characteristic shape of signum.

Distribution. Europe, northwards to central Scandinavia, European Russia, North Africa, Middle East, Turkey. Also recorded from Iran (e.g. Zerny 1939), Iraq ( Amsel 1949) and Turkmenistan ( Christoph 1885).

Bionomics. The larva is described by e.g. Emmet & Heckford (2002: 222). It lives gregariously among spun leaves and within shoots of Verbascum  L. species, pupating underneath the lowest dead leaves. It has been reported as a pest on cultivated Verbascum phlomoides  L. ( Łęgosz-Owsianna 1954).

Remarks. Tinea verbascella  was described from an unstated number of specimens from the Vienna area ( Austria), bred from Verbascum thapsus  (“Verbasci Tapsi”). Koçak (1984) has argued that the description is unavailable, but his argument has not been generally accepted, and stability of nomenclature is best served by accepting the description of this and other species in Denis & Schiffermüller’s work as valid ( Sattler & Tremewan, 1984).

Nothris discretella  was described from a single male collected near Graz in south-eastern Austria. Due to its dark brownish grey forewings, Rebel (1889) compared it with N. congressariella  , but its genitalia show it to be a synonym of N. verbascella  .

Nothris verbascella clarella  was described from an unstated number of specimens from Israel (Karmel) and Palestine (Jericho). Amsel (1935) stated the subspecies clarella to be about 3 mm smaller than nominotypical N. verbascella  , much lighter and with smaller and fewer black scales in the forewing. We examined a paratype which, apart from being lighter, does not differ from specimens from other parts of the distribution area. Also the (male) genitalia are very similar, with only the apex of sacculus being narrower and more distinctly tapering into the tip. Although specimens from the eastern Mediterranean area generally are paler (especially the hindwings) N. verbascella  is a variable species, and we do not find specimens from that area sufficiently distinct to deserve status as a subspecies.

Vives Moreno (2015) listed Recurvaria lutarea (Haworth, 1828)  as a synonym of N. verbascella  . Here we follow the opinion of Beccaloni et al. (2005) and treat it as a synonym of Pexicopia malvella ( Hübner, 1796)  .


Naturhistorisches Museum, Wien


Zoological Museum, University of Copenhagen


National Museum Prague














Nothris verbascella

Karsholt, Ole & Šumpich, Jan 2015


Tinea verbascella

Sattler 1973: 229
Denis 1775: 136


Nothris discretella

Rebel 1889: 318


Nothris verbascella clarella

Amsel 1935: 298