Microlepidoptera on Solanaceae

Keiferia glochinella


Keiferia glochinella (Zeller, 1873)

Common name: eggplant leafminer moth

Original combination: Gelechia glochinella Zeller, 1873

Synonyms: Keiferia peniculo Heinrich, 1946

Alternative combinations: Tildenia peniculo (Heinrich, 1946)

Classification: Gelechioidea: Gelechiidae: Gelechiinae: Gnorimoschemini

Adult recognition

Adults are about 4.5-5.0 mm in forewing length. They are variable yellowish gray, light gray to gray, mottled with dark gray and yellowish-orange. The labial palpus is upturned. The hindwing is trapezoidal, with hair-pencils above from the base of the costal margin in males. The abdomen is yellowish gray and the ventral surface very light dull yellow, modified with long hair-pencils in males. The male genitalia have a sickle-shaped uncus, elongate valva enlarged toward the apex with a small terminal hook, and vinculum with a paired short hump-like processes. Females have a slightly widened ductus bursae as long as the corpus bursae, the ostium with hood-shaped sclerotization, and a hook-shaped signum.

Immature stages

Larvae when fully grown are about 8 mm long, somewhat semi-cylindrical in shape, the dorsal surface being convex and the ventral surface flattened. The body gradually tapers from the first abdominal segments to the posterior end and is plainly constricted at the junctures of the segments. The head is flattened dorso-ventrally and in living specimens is often partially retracted within the thorax. No detailed morphological descriptions of the mouthparts or chaetotaxy have been published.

PDF - Dichotomous key to Gelechiid larvae

Similar species

This species is superficially similar to Keiferia lycopersicella, but it differs by having the following genital characters: male valva with a small terminal hook, saccus short and broadly rounded, and vincular processes hump-like, whereas in K. lycopersicella, the male valva is apically bifurcate, the saccus is long and thin, and the vincular processes are elongate and finger-like. The female antrum is short in K. glochinella, whereas the antrum is long and funnel-shaped in K. lycopersicella.

Without information on larval morphology, the larva of K. glochinella has to be identified by the host, distribution and habits. In particular, it is a western United States species that could be confused with Keiferia lycopersicella, K. inconspicuella and Phthorimaea operculella when feeding on Solanum carolinense. The head of K. glochinella is flattened (unlike the round head of P. operculella) and there is likely no posterior band on the prothorax as in K. lycopersicella. Where K. glochinella and K. inconspicuella overlap in Texas, rearing to the adult stage will be necessary until the larva of K. glochinella is described with certainty.


Larvae are leaf-miners.


Native to North America. USA (Texas, New Mexico, California).


Solanum carolinense L. (Carolina horsenettle)


This species was known as a pest of eggplant in the southwestern United States, but these records were based on misidentifications.


Busck, 1903.

Busck, 1939.

Chambers, 1878.

Heinrich, 1946.

Hodges, 1985.

Povolný, 1967.

Zeller, 1873.