Microlepidoptera on Solanaceae

Frumenta nundinella


Frumenta nundinella (Zeller, 1873)

Common name: none

Original combination: Gelechia nundinella Zeller, 1873

Synonyms: Gelechia beneficentella Murtfeldt, 1881

Alternative combinations: Frumenta beneficentella (Murtfeldt, 1881)

Classification: Gelechioidea: Gelechiidae: Gelechiinae: Gnorimoschemini

Adult recognition

Adults are about 7.5-9.0 mm in forewing length. They are yellowish white mottled with predominantly dark gray and sparse orange-brown scales that tend to be arranged in narrow, inconspicuous longitudinal rows. The labial palpus is upturned. The hindwing is grayish yellow or light gray, with a subrectangular, rounded apex and a long fringe of hairs. The abdomen has dense, white scales at the base of the dorsal surface of the first segment and yellowish orange scales on the dorsal surfaces of the first three segments. The male genitalia have an elongate, spatulate-shaped gnathos and a vinculum with paired short and stout hairy triangular-shaped processes. Females have a narrow ductus bursae nearly as long as corpus bursae and a small and stubby signum with a blunt apex.

Immature stages

Larvae when fully grown are about 12-15 mm long. The head is black when young, later assuming an olive brown hue. The prothoracic shield is not banded, the thoracic legs are usually not pigmented and the body has pale brown pinacula. No detailed morphological information on the mouthparts or chaetotaxy has been published.

PDF - Dichotomous key to Gelechiid larvae

Similar species

The adult of F. nundinella is superficially similar to Frumenta solanophaga Adamski and Brown but it differs by having the following genital characters: male valva short and thick with a rounded tip and saccus longer than the length of valva. The valva of F. solanophaga has a blunt tip and the saccus is shorter than the length of valva.

Among the species included here, the larva of F. nundinella is recognized by the host, distribution and habits. We include four species feeding specifically on Solanum carolinense: F. nundinella, Keiferia lycopersicella, K. inconspicuella and K. glochinella. Frumenta nundinella lacks a posterior band on the prothorax that is present in K. lycopersicella. Keiferia glochinella is a western species whereas F. nundinella occurs in the eastern and midwestern United States. Frumenta nundinella does not mine leaves as is the case with Keiferia lycopersicella, Keiferia inconspicuella and K. glochinella. Phthorimaea operculella may feed on Solanum carolinense, but unlike F. nundinella, the thoracic legs are pigmented.


Eggs are laid on the plant surface with a sticky substance on the egg surface. After eclosing, larvae wander on leaf and stem surfaces until they reach a leaf bud either at the apical growth point or at a leaf joint. Larvae are reported in southwest Virginia to have two generations per year. They are known to attack two stages of host-plant in each generation. First generation larvae feed within leaf chambers before formation of fruits. After formation of fruits, second generation larvae bore into fruits, so they have a greater impact on seed production than leaf damage.


Native to North America. USA (throughout southern and midwestern United States), Canada (Ontario).


Solanum carolinense L. (Carolina horsenettle)


This species is known widely as an important herbivore of Solanum carolinense, which is a native weed in the southeastern United States. Biological studies on this species were conducted in the 1970s.


Adamski and Brown, 2002.

Bailey, 1977.

Bailey and Kok, 1976.

Bailey and Kok, 1982.

Busck, 1939.

Foott, 1967.

Murtfeldt, 1881.

Solomon, 1980.

Solomon, 1988.

Zeller, 1873.