Status and Distribution
Locally common in England and Wales, more local in Northern England, central and eastern Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland; scarce in western and northern Scotland. The species demonstrates a coastal bias in much of the westerly and northerly parts of its range.
Bradley & Fletcher no:
Maps updated with all data received by February 2016.
Foodplant and Larval Feeding Signs
Atriplex spp. (orache) and Chenopodium spp. (goosefoot); including Atriplex glabriuscula (babington's orache), A. halimus (sea orache, VC10, Dr D T Biggs, 2003) A. littoralis (grass-leaved orache), A. patula (common orache), A. portulacoides (sea purslane), A. prostrata (spear-leaved orache), Chenopodium album agg. (fat-hen), C. murale (nettle-leaved goosefoot) VC23 2010, C. polyspermum (many-seeded goosefoot) and C. rubrum (red goosefoot). The foodplant map shows Atriplex patula as it is one of the most frequently used larval foodplants together with Chenopodium album agg.
In Europe it has been reported from Atriplex sagittata, Bassia scoparia (summer-cypress), Spinacia sp. and Amaranthus sp.
Finding the Moth
Larva: The large white blotch-mines are readily located and can occasionally be abundant in suitable localities.
Adult: Can be swept from amongst the larval foodplants amongst which it flies in sunny or cloudy, humid conditions; will occasionally come to light. The moth has on occasions been found in numbers in agricultural polytunnels.
Although a small moth for the family, the short and relatively broad dark purplish-grey forewings with varying extents of ochreous yellow spots or streaks make this a distinctive species.
Double brooded from the end of April to mid June and again from late July to the end of August. There have been a significant number (c10% of adult sightings) recorded during early and mid July from across the British Isles suggesting the flight periods may vary according to the season, altitude and microclimate.
Earliest: 25th April 2007 (VC25) and 25th April 2011 (VC74)
Latest: 2nd October 1985 (VC91) and 2nd October 1992 (VC37)