Status and Distribution
Adventive that may have established itself temporarily in Essex (in 1971) and occured once in Worcestershire (in 1978). A further, unconfirmed, record (in 2004) came from close to the original Essex site but enquiries failed to produce a specimen or further conclusive evidence. Possibly no longer present in the British Isles.
Three records from adjacent areas in Glamorganshire (c1979) have come to light but no specimen or other evidence suggesting the records may be credible have been found.
Foodplant and Larval Feeding Signs
Juniperus spp. (juniper), see distribution map.
In Europe the foodplant is given as Juniperus communis (juniper), the larva feeding in a silken tube amongst needles spun to a twig from May to July.
The moth located in Worcestershire in 1978 was found on an inside wall near a window close to a Juniperus squamata bush. Subsequent searches failed to locate any larvae.
Finding the Moth
Larva: searches of garden junipers in the grid squares TQ3189 and TQ3296 would be beneficial to see if larvae are present. Silken tubes in needles attached to the stems in May, June or even into July should be examined for larvae.
Adult: attracted to light.
Gelechia senticetella is smaller, based on the limited ammount of available data in Britain (10-13mm wingspan as opposed to 15-18mm for G. sabinellus), generally darker and browner and lacks the two light spots which often interrupt the longitudinal black streaks on the forewing. The wingspan ranges quoted for both species in Europe and Britain differ by a few milimetres and, in Europe, G. senticetella can be quite variable in its forewing markings. If G. sabinellus is suspected it is therefore advisable to retain a voucher specimen.
All three confirmed records were in mid to late August.