Wingspan 8-9 mm.
A relatively common species around the coastal saltings of England and Wales, though probably overlooked as an adult due to its size. It bears a superficial resemblance to some of the Phyllonorycter species.
The larva feeds on sea aster (Aster tripolium), creating a narrow gallery containing black or brownish frass, and subsequently one or more shorter mines or windows.
The adult moths fly in June and August, in two generations. They are on the wing in late afternoon sunshine but also occasionally come to light.
See also: Leafmine (British Leaf Mining Fauna)
- Larva: (description Ian F. Smith):
Final instar larva
Foodplant: April - May and July - August on Aster tripolium in leaf mines and on leaves eating out 'windows'. Larvae sometimes mine, window and then return to mining.
Length: 6.5 mm
Head: Pale brownish yellow with a paler band dorsally and bordering frons. Mouthparts reddish brown. Stemmata black, connected by curved black band.
Prothoracic shield: Similar to body, but shinier. Transverse row of four pitchy black dots near posterior, often expanded into brown streaks.
Thoracic legs: Translucent shiny pale yellow. Thin black collar at base of femur. Claw brown.
Body: Matt, raw umber. Translucent; shows dark contents of gut dorsally, when occupied. Gonads show dark orange in A5 and A6.
Spiracles: Small. Black peritreme.
Pinacula: Unobtrusive. Paler than integument. Fine dark brown setal spot.
Setae: Dark brown.
Anal segment: As rest of abdomen. No anal plate discernible.
Prolegs: Concolorous with body. Planta paler with a brownish band round its constricted base. Crochets blackish; only 1 on anterior and 2 on posterior.
Pupa: In a white ribbed cocoon on plant or debris. Usually without the surrounding palisade found in some Bucculatrix species, cf. 274 Bucculatrix ulmella.