35.055 Metzneria aestivella (Zeller, 1839)

Status and Distribution

Local in southern England and coastal south Wales. Very local elsewhere, in England as far north os Lincolnshire, in north Wales and south-east Ireland with a few very historic records from Yorkshire. Searches in the coastal dunes of north-west England, where the foodplant is present, sometimes in reasonable quantity, have so far failed to produce the moth.


National Status: Nationally Scarce B
Bradley & Fletcher no: 725
Photographer: ©C Manley
Location: Pembrey, Camarthenshire

Provisional map


Foodplant and Larval Feeding Signs

Metzneria aestivella feeding sign (Photo: © B Smart)

Carlina vulgaris (carline thistle), see plant distribution map.

In Europe, also found on Carlina acaulis and Pyrethrum corymbosum.

Often no external signs of feeding damage, but sometimes spins parts of the pappus together giving the head a rather untidy appearance.


Metzneria aestivella habitat July 2013 (Photo: © S Palmer)  Metzneria aestivella habitat Ynys-las, Ceredigion 2016 (Photo: © S Palmer)

Short or grazed grassland on dry, calcareous, limestone and other base rich soils, sand-dunes and quarries.

Finding the Moth

Larva: in the seed-heads from September to April, pupating in May. Collection of seed-heads is the best way to find this species but the larvae can be heavily parasitised.

Adult: infrequently seen during daytime and occasionally comes to light.

Similar Species

Lacks the black spots present on Metzneria lappella and Metzneria metzneriella; smaller and less streaked than M. neuropterella. The third segment of the labial palps is two-thirds the length of the second segment (half length in other Metzneria spp.). Worn moths are likely to require dissection.

January, February, March, April, October, November, December
June, July

Single-brooded in June and July.

Earliest: 1st June 2002 (VC113)

Latest: 26th August 1926 (VC10)