During autumn the larva mines a mere 9-12 leaves - the damage is quite inconspicuous. Hibernation occurs within the mine, and during mild days feeding may continue. After hibernation the larva lives as a borer, and empties 4-6 shoots, over a length of 0.5 - 2.5 mm, just below the tip of the shoot. The damaged shoots wilt and die off (Bladmineerders van Europa).
Mine of Argyrethia cupressella
Image: © Ben Smart
The larvae of moths have a head capsule and chewing mouthparts with opposable mandibles (see video of a gracillarid larva feeding), six thoracic legs and abdominal legs (see examples).
The larva is illustrated in Bladmineerders van Europa.
Pupa: Pupa in a white fusiform coccoon that often is spun among the twigs, rather than on the ground (Bladmineerders van Europa).
The adult is illustrated in UKMoths. The female
and male genitalia are illustrated by the Lepidoptera Dissection Group.
Hosts in Great Britain & Ireland:
of year - larvae:
Summer to Spring (British
of year - adults: June and July (UKMoths).
in Great Britain & Ireland: Recorded in England (NBN
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Distribution elsewhere: Native in the western coastal region of the United States, and emerged in Britain in 1997, where it now is spreading rapidly (Agassiz & Tuck, 1999a; Heckford, 2004a). The hostplants are also on the European mainland very popular as ornamental conifers, and the discovery of this Argyresthia here will be a mere matter of time (Bladmineerders van Europa).
NBN Interactive Grid Maps of known host species:
British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere: Currently unknown.