Gayubo & Felton (2000) provide an identification key to the six European Nitela species, as well as detailed descriptions. Felton (1987) keyed the two British species, misidentifying N. lucens as N. spinolae.
The known distribution of this species is very restricted, ie. the extreme south-east of England, including East Sussex (I C Beavis pers. com.), West Kent and East Kent. The species is very common in northern and central Europe. It is known from Finland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Andorra, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary and Greece. Also known from Tunisia, Turkey and Azerbaijan.