The Aethes rubigana complex is shown to comprise four closely related species in the Palearctic region: Eurasian Aethes cnicana (Westwood, 1854), European A. rubigana (Treitschke, 1830), Asiatic A. citreoflava V. I. Kuznetsov, 1966, and A. kyrkii, here described as a new species from northern Finland. A. kyrkii is morphologically most close to A. cnicana, but enzyme electrophoresis revealed complete genetic isolation between them. Descriptions are given of the three species occurring in Europe, and their respective biologies are outlined. Statistical analyses of traits of the forewing are given. The taxonomic status of A. arcticana (Brandt, 1937) is revised.