Status and Distribution
Very local, with a scattered distribution across parts of south-east and north-east England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland. Apparently absent from Wales, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.
The record from VC60 (Gait Barrows NNR) on 10.7.1999 detailed in the Entomologist's Rec. 112: 198 was a misidentification and another from Dorset in 1967 has been listed in the county fauna but is unconfirmed.
Bradley & Fletcher no:
Maps updated with all data received by February 2016.
Foodplant and Larval Feeding Signs
Lotus corniculatus (common bird's-foot-trefoil), see plant distribution map.
Feeds between spun leaves often at the tip of a stem forming a small rounded bunch, sometimes bent downwards. Appears to prefer plants with fleshy leaves.
Frequents rough ground, often on calcareous soils including dunes and downland, over most of its range and occurs on dry heaths in Scotland.
Finding the Moth
Larva: feeds in spun leaves usually at the tips of the stem with a suggested preference for fleshier leaved plants.
Adult: can be swept from amongst the foodplant, has been observed resting on the plant during the day and is attracted to both actinic and mercury vapour light.
When fresh this species has a purplish or bluish tinge to the forewing with some scattered creamy-yellowish scales particularly beyond the blackish stigmata. The presence of a creamy-yellow costal patch at three-quarters and similar tornal patch can occasionally extend to form a broken fascia. There is a prominent creamy-white stripe above the eyes and the pale inner surface of the second segment of the labial palps stand out well. There is no hint of any pale lining on the underside of the forewing as in S. taeniolella. It superficially resembles Aproaerema anthyllidella and Eulamprotes immaculatella from which it is readily separated by its larger size and broader wings. It may be necessary to dissect if there is any doubt or if the moth is at all worn.
Single brooded from June to mid-August
Earliest: 30th May 1854 (VC66)
Latest: 22nd August 1970 (VC85)