35.004 Syncopacma taeniolella (Zeller, 1839)

Status and Distribution

Widespread but rather local, occasionally locally common, across much of England, lowland Wales and Eire. Very local in Northern England, only a few scattered sites in Scotland* and unrecorded from Northern Ireland and Isle of Man. It appears to be restricted to coastal localities in the more northerly parts of Britain.

* Details of two Scottish records (in VC83 and VC101) shown on the national VC maps are unknown to this Scheme, the only location with details being the Outer Hebrides. Additionally the national Vice County map has a dot for VC113 (the Channel Islands), but no supporting data was received with the complete Channel Islands dataset when updated in 2012.

National Status: 


Bradley & Fletcher no: 

Photo courtesy of UK Moths.
Photographer: Helen Bantock
Location: Harlech, Gwynedd

Provisional Map

Maps updated with all data received by February 2018.


    Syncopacma taeniolella (Photo: P Clement) Syncopacma taeniolella (Photo: T & D Pendleton)


    Syncopacma taeniolella larva (Photo: R J Heckford)

    Set Specimens

    Syncopacma taeniolella (upperside), bred Lotus corniculatus, Co. Clare (Photo: R J Heckford)  Syncopacma taeniolella (underside) bred Lotus corniculatus, Co. Clare (Photo: R J Heckford)

    The diagnostic white marks on the underside of the forewing and hindwing can be a little variable in extent but are clearly visible in the photograph above.

    Dissection Group

    Foodplant and Larval Feeding Signs

    Lotus corniculatus (common bird's-foot-trefoil), see plant distribution map. Very occasionally on Lotus pedunculatus (greater bird's-foot-trefoil), Trifolium spp. (clover) or Medicago spp. (medick). It was once reported from Helianthemum nummularium (common rock-rose) by P Sokoloff in the BENHS Journal of 1980: 8.

    In Europe alsp found on Chrysapsis micrantha, Dorycnium, Medicago minima (bur medick), Tetragonolobus maritimus, Trifolium medium (zigzag clover) and Trifolium pratense (red clover).

    Foodplant Map


    Syncopacma taeniolella habitat Newborough Warren, Anglesey 2013 (Photo: S M Palmer)

    Rough ground, quarries, vegetated coastal dunes, chalk grassland and limestone pavement.

    Finding the Moth

    Larva: spins leaves together and feeds within the spinning. Syncopacma cinctella also utilises common bird's-foot-trefoil and S. larseniella has been known to use it on rare occasions.

    Adult: easily disturbed on warm days and swept from amongst the larval foodplant. Comes to light.

    Similar Species

    Readily separated from other Syncopacma species with a white fascia by the presence of a similar, usually slightly thinner fascia on the underside of the forewing and a white spot or a broken line on the underside of the hindwing. See photograph of upperside and underside of the forewings in the Images section and the comparable markings of S. larseniella under that species.

    Rarely the white fascia on the upperside of the forewing can be broken or reduced to a few dots in S. taeniolella.  If checking of the underside of the forewing fails to show any obvious and strong white fascia then dissection is recommended to exclude other Syncopacma species.

    The pale fascia on S. taeniolella can be straight or, more often, slightly inwardly curved.

    Larval Occurrence

    Larval Occurrence

    Flight Period

    Flight Period

    Single brooded from mid-June to August.