Scrobipalpa costella
Scrobipalpa costella
Adult • Littleborough, Lancashire • ©

35.123 BF819
Scrobipalpa costella

(Humphreys & Westwood, 1845)


A fairly common species throughout much of Britain, this moth emerges late in the season, from September onwards, and spends the winter as an adult.

The larval foodplant is bittersweet (Solanum dulcamara), and the species occurs in woodland and damp areas where the foodplant is found.

The adult flies at night and is attracted to light.


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    Larva: (description Ian F. Smith):
    • Foodplant: Probably more than one generation while leaves on Solanum dulcamara. (MBGBI: May, August, September. Pers. obs.: July), and overwinters as larva. In irregular mines and lightly spun leaves, and able to move between them at will. Early mines pale, later turning brown.
    • Length: 7 mm described. (5 mm: similar, but paler and more transparent.) (MBGBI: 9 -10 mm full grown)
    • Head: Brown. (5mm: pitchy brown). (MBGBI: brown to black). Posterior edged black. Black posterolateral mark extends forwards to meet black stemmatal area. Frons outlined dark brown (5mm: frons paler, edged black). Mouthparts dark reddish brown.
    • Prothorax (T1): Integument brownish purple.
    • Prothoracic shield: black, anterior and laterally dark brownish. Divided by very thin pale medial line. (5 mm: pitchy black. Medial line imperceptible).
    • Mesothorax (T2): Integument brownish purple.
    • Metathorax (T3): Coloured as abdomen. (MBGBI states "thoracic segments 2 and 3 dull purplish brown". Possibly an error in transferring larval details from Meyrick, 1895, who calls the head "segment 1" and the thorax "segments 2, 3 and 4").
    • Thoracic legs: Black. (5 mm: pitchy brown).
    • Body: Integument semitransparent, faintly shaded light grey. Gut shows as a reddish brown, pinkish or green dorsal line, depending on contents. Faint dorsolateral line of reddish brown pigment, strongest on segments A7 and A8. Ventrally whitish. (5mm: paler with fainter dorsolateral line).
    • Spiracles: Black peritreme.
    • Pinacula: A fine black setal spot with a narrow grey sclerotised periphery.
    • Setae: Translucent, tinted pale grey.
    • Anal plate: Transparent tinted pale yellow. Darkened when frass in transit. Posterior marked blackish grey.
    • Prolegs: Coloured as venter. Crochets reddish brown. Anal prolegs marked blackish grey laterally.
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