Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
First described in 1877 by Vactor Tousey Chambers as Heliozella aesella (the correct spelling of the genus is Heliozela), though he used a question mark (?) to indicate that he wasn't sure he had the right genus.
Explanation of Names
Perhaps from Latin aes- "copper/bronze/brass; any crude metal (in the form as it is dug from the earth)" + -ella "little": Chambers commented on the "metallic reflections" from the whole insect, which made the brown portions look like bronze. Forms of aes followed by a vowel in Latin have the s changed to r
, but Chambers may have ignored this in coining the name.
The HOSTS Caterpillar Hostplant Database
list only grapevines (Vitis
) as hostplants for the larvae. They form a gall-like leaf-mine in the leaves
Life cycle images:
leaf with galls; larva with leaf wrap; pupa and cocoon; adult
The other North American species of Heliozela, H. gracilis Zeller 1873, is known only from its original description (a caught specimen from Texas). The forewing pattern was described as follows: Of the two pure silver-white, shiny dorsal spots, the second, lying on the inner angle, is triangular, with a fine tip directed towards the front edge and sharply delimited. . . The first, closer to the root than the second, is a narrow line that is inclined towards the back. ("Von den zwei reinsilberweissen, glänzenden Dorsaltröpfchen ist das zweite, am Innenwinkel liegeade dreieckig, mit feiner, gegen den Vorderrand gerichteter Spitze und scharf umgrenzt. . . Das erste, näher an der Wurzel als an dem zweiten liegende, ist ein schmaler, oben nach hinten übergeneigter Strich.").
When Chambers described H. aesella, he was not entirely sure it was a distinct species, and the only differences he noted were as follows (italics his): "There are the usual two silvery white dorsal spots, one near the base, the other at the anal angle; the latter is not a triangle, as it is described in gracilis, or if it is triangular, the apex is very obtuse; it points a little obliquely backwards; the other lies parallel to it, pointing also a little backwards, is of the same length but narrower, and reaches the fold."
Moth Photographers Group
Species page, with one image.
The Canadian Entomologist, v.9, p.108
Chambers' original description of the species