Status and Distribution
Very local with scattered records from southern, eastern and central England as far north as Yorkshire. There are a few records from Wales and Ireland; not known in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man or the Channel Islands. It can be locally common at a few favoured sites.
Foodplant and Larval Feeding Signs
Foodplant unknown in Britain.
In Europe found in the rootstocks of Filipendula ulmaria (meadowsweet) and, although unconfirmed, Spiraea spp. (brideworts) are mentioned.
Principally a moth of Fens and damp localities but has also been found in gardens, limestone hills and dry fields.
Finding the Moth
Larva: in Europe believed to feed in the rootstock of meadowsweet.
Adult: flies at night and comes regularly to light traps.
On 22 July 1849 reported as being found amongst Hippuris vulgaris (Mare's-tail) by Allen Hill in a note by J W Douglas in the Trans. Ent. Soc. London 1847-52. In 1866 reported as being found on the 'heads of large cuckoo weed'.
Similar to some other Monochroa species, the two colour forms adding to potential confusion. In its dark form, size should help separate it from the smaller M. conspersella, M. hornigi and M. elongella. The abdomen on M. lutulentella has segments one to four ochreous yellow above, the other segments being fuscous. This feature should assist in separating it from the three previously mentioned species as well as worn specimens of the marginally smaller and narrower-winged M. lucidella. Dissection may be necessary.
Single brooded flying from late May to mid-August.
Earliest: 4th May 2006 (VC31)
Latest: 28th August 1971 (VC21) and same date 2012 (VC47)