35.089 Prolita sexpunctella (Fabricius, 1794)

Status and Distribution

Local to very local; can occasionally be present in numbers at some sites. Found in Wales, northern England and Scotland; rare in Ireland. Details relating to a record from the Isle of Man are unknown.

National Status: Nationally Scarce B
Bradley & Fletcher no: 794
Photographer: © S Palmer
Location: Cockerham Moss, Lancashire

Provisional map


Foodplant and Larval Feeding Signs

Calluna vulgaris (heather), see plant distribution map. In Europe also found on Erica cinerea (bell heather), Dryas octopetala (mountain avens) and possibly a wider range of foodplants.

In spun leaves.


Prolita sexpunctella habitat Withinleach Moor (Photo: © S Hind)  Prolita sexpunctella habitat, Meathop Moss 2013 (Photo: S M Palmer)

On moorland, heaths and mosses, sometimes favouring the damper areas. Has occasionally been reported as abundant where heather growth is short, especially in areas regenerating after fire. Can be found up to at least 1150m (3772 feet) in the Scottish mountains.

Finding the Moth

Larva: spins the leaves of heather.

Adult: flies in warm sunny conditions amongst the foodplant and over burnt patches where heather is regenerating, as well as in dry rocky areas in short vegetation. There are no records of the moth being attracted to light.

Similar Species

Some smaller examples of Prolita solutella (which ranges from 16-21mm - P. sexpunctella is 13-17mm), with the forewings light grey and with black fasciae, are superficially similar to P. sexpunctella. The species can be separated by the presence of a whitish distal area on each segment of the abdomen in P. sexpunctella, absent in P. solutella.

April, May
May, June

Single brooded from May to mid-June and occasionally into early July.

Earliest: 1st May 1997 (VC42)

Latest: 15th July 1993 (VC48)