An online key to the Phyllonorycter sp’

I’ve just stumbled across this free online key to Phyllonorycters¬†and would be interested in hearing what the rest of the group think:¬†

According to the initial source (see below), the key includes all 86 North-West European Lithocolletinae (i.e. it covers all the Phyll’ sp listed in the new checklist). The user can input data on several external morphological characters in addition to distribution, host plant and even characteristics of the larval feeding traces to reach an identification.


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3 Responses to An online key to the Phyllonorycter sp’

  1. Raymond Watson says:

    Looks good if you have a good specimen. It didn’t work just now when I tried it for one I had great difficulty with 2 years ago on account of it being in poor condition and a poorly known species as adult (P. ulicicolella). Interested to see it goes to for further information which is also where I would go for troublesome micros. I do a gen prep for poor specimens of this and other micro groups. This key doesn’t go to genitalia preps but is fine if you don’t and have a good specimen. It is very good in that it shows variants in colour and markings and will also bring up species that could be new to UK.

  2. Neil says:

    I’ve just tried this on a Phyllonorycter I trapped last night (24th) that I knew to be either messaniella or quercifoliella after a quick glance. Moth keyed out correctly as quercifoliella. I would agree with Raymond that you need a good specimen to work through the key (luckily my moth was). Some caution should be exercised with the trickier species like the Alder feeding moths as the key I have used in the past in a Swedish book states that gen prep would be required for absolute determination.
    Would like to try it out on more species throughout the season but was quite easy to use and took a bit less time than the book.

  3. paulb says:

    Hello Raymond, Neil … Just catching up after a busy few days birding. Agree that you need a good (and co-operative) specimen and also accept that it, in some cases, it will be necessary to get the moth chopped to be 100% certain but a useful starting point all the same.

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