730 Apodia bifractella
(Duponchel, 1843)Wingspan 9-12 mm.
Widespread in southern England and also in N.W.England and N. Wales. The imago, July-August, is secretive, but is sometimes found in late afternoon on flowers of foodplant.
Larva, October to April, and pupa, May to June, in seedheads of common fleabane (Pulicaria dysenterica), ploughman's spikenard (Inula conyzae), or sea aster (Aster tripolium). There are no external feeding signs.
The easiest way to find Apodia bifractella is to note locations in summer where the foodplants grow, and to return in December to April to collect a carrier bag of the dead plant remains. Keep outdoors until March/April, and then bring inside, remove seedheads and place them in a large sweet jar, or similar, with the lid on. Imagines may emerge in July-August, but need careful looking for, as they sit very still and match the seedheads. If you think you have failed, check the debris at the bottom of the jar before discarding it.
Collecting seedheads at random may seem unreliable, but the first records for Cheshire and Derbyshire were made by collecting common fleabane at four widely separated localities, all of which produced A.bifractella, in one case, over 70 specimens. It is suspected that it may be common wherever the foodplants occur.