The larva forms a distinctive black case from silk, from which it
feeds on the foliage or flowers of heather or bell heather. The
larval case reaches around 9 mm in length when fully fed (UKMoths).
shiny black case is also illustrated in British
leafminers and described in (Bladmineerders van Europa).
Larva: 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).
See Emmet et al. (1996a), Suire (1961a) (Bladmineerders van Europa).
Pupa: The pupae of moths have visible head appendages, wings and legs which lie in sheaths (see examples).
The pupa is formed in the larval case, which is attached to
the tip of a shoot in full sunshine (UKMoths).
The adult is illustrated in UKMoths by Tymo Muus.
genitalia, but not the female genitalia (check for update), are illustrated by the Lepidoptera Dissection Group.
Hosts in Great Britain & Ireland:
of year - larvae: September - May (British
leafminers) or June (UKMoths).
of year - adults: The adults fly mainly in June and July (UKMoths).
in Great Britain & Ireland: A fairly common species throughout
much of mainland Britain, inhabiting moorland, heaths and bogs (UKMoths)
including Banffshire (VC94), Bedfordshire (VC30), Berkshire (VC22), Caernarvonshire (VC49), Cambridgeshire (VC29),
Denbighshire (VC50), East Suffolk (VC25), Easterness (VC96), Glamorganshire (VC41), Kincardineshire (VC91), Merionethshire (VC48),
North Aberdeenshire (VC93), Shropshire (VC40), South Aberdeenshire (VC92), Staffordshire (VC39), Warwickshire (VC38),
West Cornwall (VC1), West Suffolk (VC26) and Worcestershire (VC37) (NBN
occurs sparsely in Ireland (UKMoths
and Karsholt and van Nieukerken in Fauna Europaea). See also Ireland's NBDC interactive map.
NBN Grid Map:
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elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Austria,
Belgium, Corsica, Crete, Croatia, Czech Republic, Danish mainland,
Estonia, Finland, French mainland, Germany, Greek mainland, Hungary,
Italian mainland, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Norwegian mainland,
Poland, Portuguese mainland, Romania, Sardinia, Sicily, Slovenia,
Spanish mainland, Sweden, Switzerland and The Netherlands. Also
recorded in Near East and North Africa (Karsholt and van Nieukerken
in Fauna Europaea).
NBN Interactive Grid Maps of known host species:
British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere: