Microlepidoptera on Solanaceae

Keiferia inconspicuella


Keiferia inconspicuella (Murtfeldt, 1883)

Common name: eggplant leafminer

Original combination: Gelechia inconspicuella Murtfeldt, 1883

Synonyms: Gelechia cinerella Murtfeldt, 1881

Alternative combinations: Keiferia cinerella (Murtfeldt, 1881)

Classification: Gelechioidea: Gelechiidae: Gelechiinae: Gnorimoschemini

Adult recognition

Adults are about 5.0-5.5 mm in forewing length. They are gray mottled with dark gray and yellowish orange. The labial palpus is upturned. The hindwing is light to medium gray and trapezoidal with a long fringe of hairs. The male genitalia have a sickle-shaped uncus with strongly curved base, elongate valva with triangular apex, and posterior margin of the vinculum shallowly excavated medially with paired vestigial hump-like processes. Females have a funnel-shaped antrum and a large sickle-shaped signum.

Immature stages

Larvae when fully grown are about 7-8 mm long, cylindrical, slightly flattened in form, and green colored. The head and T1 shield are light brown without a posterior band. The fifth tooth of the mandible, being small and pointed, is easily worn smooth and missed.

PDF - Dichotomous key to Gelechiid larvae

Similar species

This species is allied to Keiferia altisolani in wing size and color, but it differs in that the male valva is elongate with a triangular apex, and the vinculum processes are vestigial and hump-like, whereas the valva is bifurcate in K. altisolani.

Keiferia inconspicuella can be separated from other species in our study by the lack of a dark band on the posterior margin of the prothoracic shield, the trisetose L group on A9, the rounded head, pale thoracic legs, the eastern United States distribution and the host being either Solanum melongena or S. carolinense but not Solanum xanti. They tend to mine the edge of the leaves unlike P. operculella that occupies the central portions of the leaf.

Larvae on S. carolinense in parts of Texas can be either K. glochinella or K. inconspicuella. These will have to be reared to the adult stage until the larva of K. glochinella is described with certainty.


Larvae burrow within the leaf along the edge of the leaf blade. They make a blotch-shaped mine and deposit feces and silk within the mine, causing leaves to turn brown.


Native to North America. USA (southeastern and midwestern United States north to about New Jersey and Iowa and west to Nebraska and Texas).


Solanum melongena L. (Eggplant)

Solanum carolinense L. (Carolina horsenettle)


This species was described with the larva observed to cause the leaves of the host plants to turn brown.


Busck, 1939.

Hodges, 1969.

Murtfeldt, 1881.

Murtfeldt, 1883.