Status and Distribution
A direct (or indirect via Europe) introduction from North America probably with imported pines. First noted at Pinner, Middlesex (VC21) on the 11th June 1952 and subsequently at four other sites in the London area and one in Hampshire, all between 1959 and 1984. There is a further report of the moth occuring in Hornsey, London, in 2002 but there is some doubt as to whether this has been confirmed or not.
Foodplant and Larval Feeding Signs
Picea abies (norway spruce), see plant distribution map. In Europe this species is mainly restricted to Picea pungens (blue spruce), a conifer of gardens and parks but has also been found on Picea mariana (black spruce) and Picea rubens (red spruce).
Mainly mines the needles but is also reported to tunnel into shoots and cones.
Gardens and nearby areas where the foodplant has been introduced.
Finding the Moth
Larva: the young larva mines the needles ejecting the frass from a small hole at the base of each needle which is attached to an adjacent leaf or stem by silken threads until late September. Occasionally a silke tube is constructed from one mine entrance to another. Other feeding methods observed involve tunneling into young shoots or cones and it is thought that larval workings tend to be associated with foliage damage by weather or other spruce-feeders. Following overwintering feeding resumes in the same working around late May with the larva soon transferring lower down the shoot.
The light yellowish brown forewings with three black costal spots followed by lighter areas and the hindwings with groups of yellow hairs at the base are unique among British and European Gelechiidae.
Single brooded mainly during July. There are few records of the adults but the earliest found was on 11th June 1952 (VC21) and the latest 2nd August 2002 (VC21).