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For the genus of Chordariaceae brown algae, see Elachista (alga). As invalidly described by V. Kollar in 1832, Elachista refers to the Lyonetiidae moth genus Lyonetia.
Adult Elachista argentella
at IJmuiden (The Netherlands)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Division: Ditrysia
Family: Elachistidae
Genus: Elachista
Treitschke in Ochsenheimer, 1833
Type species
Elachista bifasciella
Treitschke in Ochsenheimer, 1833

Numerous, see text


Numerous, see text

Elachista is a genus of gelechioid moths. 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]

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 species

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)

argentella group (sometimes in bedellella group)

  • Elachista acenteta
  • Elachista achrantella
  • Elachista adempta
  • Elachista adianta
  • Elachista anagna
  • Elachista aphyodes
  • Elachista apina
  • Elachista arena
  • Elachista argentella (type of Aphelosetia)
  • Elachista argillacea
  • Elachista aspila
  • Elachista aurocristata
  • Elachista conidia
  • Elachista coniophora
  • Elachista controversa
  • Elachista dissona
  • Elachista epimicta
  • Elachista granosa
  • Elachista griseicornis
  • Elachista hololeuca
  • Elachista inopina
  • Elachista ischnella
  • Elachista lamina
  • Elachista lomionella
  • Elachista loriella
  • Elachista louisella
  • Elachista lurida
  • Elachista nubila
  • Elachista nucula
  • Elachista orestella
  • Elachista ossuaria
  • Elachista patriodoxa
  • Elachista perniva
  • Elachista ripula Kaila, 1998
  • Elachista sabulella
  • Elachista scobifera
  • Elachista sincera
  • Elachista spatiosa
  • Elachista symmorpha
  • Elachista synopla
  • Elachista thelma
  • Elachista triangulifera
  • Elachista triatomea
  • Elachista virgatula Kaila, 1997 (type of Aphigalia)

bedellella/unifasciella group (including collitella group)

Elachista (Aphelosetia) incertae sedis

Subgenus Elachista (Atachia)

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

gerasmia group, gerasmia section

gerasmia group, catarata section

erebophthalma group

  • Elachista erebophthalma
  • Elachista evexa
  • Elachista rhomboidea
  • Elachista leucastra

Subgenus Elachista (Hemiprosopa)

  • Elachista dasycara Kaila, 1999 (=albella (Chambers, 1877) nec Muller, 1776)

Subgenus Elachista (Elachista)

"Cosmiotes"/freyerella group

tetragonella group

Elachista (Elachista) incertae sedis

Other groups

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

Incertae sedis

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

Placement in Elachista uncertain

  • Elachista arundinella (Duponchel, 1843
  • Elachista cupreella Blanchard, 1852
  • Elachista endobela Meyrick, 1926
  • Elachista hilda (Meyrick, 1932)
  • Elachista infamiliaris Gozmany, 1957
  • Elachista ladiniella Hartig, 1938
  • Elachista leucosoma Meyrick, 1922
  • Elachista maculoscella Clemens, 1860
  • Elachista melanura Meyrick, 1889
  • Elachista metallifera Lower, 1908
  • Elachista notosema (Meyrick, 1922)
  • Elachista oxycrates Meyrick, 1932
  • Elachista petalistis Meyrick, 1932
  • Elachista picroleuca (Meyrick, 1921)
  • Elachista rubella Blanchard, 1852
  • Elachista tersectella Zeller, 1875
  • Elachista unifasciella Chambers, 1875
  • Elachista vestata Meyrick, 1932

Excluded species

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

  • Elachista parvipulvella Chambers 1875


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



  • . Version of 2008-OCT-09. Retrieved 2010-MAY-01.
  • . Version 2.1, 2009-DEC-22. Retrieved 2010-MAY-01.
  • Kaila, Lauri (2011): Elachistine Moths of Australia (Lepidoptera: Gelechioidea, Elachistidae) (Monographs on Australian Lepidoptera Series 11). CSIRO Publishing. Google Books
  • Kusdas, Karl & Reichl, Ernst Rudolf (eds.) (1973): Schmetterlinge Oberösterreichs (Vol. 6: Microlepidoptera) [in German]. Landwirtschaftskammer für Oberösterreich.
  • Pitkin, Brian & Jenkins, Paul (2004): . Version of 2004-NOV-05. Retrieved 2010-MAY-01.
  • Savela, Markku (2008): Markku Savela's Lepidoptera and some other life forms – . Version of 2008-JUL-19. Retrieved 2010-MAY-01.
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