Scrobipalpa instabilella
Scrobipalpa instabilella
Adult • Pegwell Bay, Kent. Reared from mines on H. portulacoides. • ©

35.114 BF812
Scrobipalpa instabilella

(Douglas, 1846)


Wingspan 12-14 mm.

A species of saltmarshes and other muddy habitats around the coasts of England, it is also known from North Wales, Ireland and rarely in Scotland. T

he adult is variable, sometimes showing a rufous tinge around the black dots on the forewing. The moths are on the wing during May to July.

A number of foodplants have been recorded, but sea purslane (Halimone portulacoides) seems to be one of the most frequent.


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    Larva: (description: I.F. Smith.):

    Foodplant: Halimione portulacoides (Sea purslane), March to May in whitish swollen mine with ejection hole for frass, or in loosely spun leaves. Locally abundant on salt marshes.
    Length: 12mm final instar.
    Head: Light brown mottled with mid-brown, posterior edge black, rounded black mark postero-laterally, black crescent in stemmatal area, frons edged by fine black line, clypeus white, labrum dark brown. Or, head black. 
    Prothoracic shield: Shiny light brown, marked blackish at posterior, translucent showing black edging on posterior of head.
    Thoracic legs: Shiny black.
    Body: Yellow tinted grey-green, reddish dorsal line, broader subdorsal reddish line, faint thin reddish subspiracular line. 
    Spiracles: Peritreme dark brown.
    Pinacula: Small (larger on segment A9), slightly paler than integument with prominent black setal spot.
    Setae: Transparent colourless.
    Anal plate: Yellowish brown.
    Prolegs: Coloured as abdomen, with dark brown crochets.

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