Scrobipalpa obsoletella
Scrobipalpa obsoletella
Adult • Iken Cliff, Suffolk • © Paul Kitchener

35.116 BF816

Scrobipalpa obsoletella

(Fischer von Röslerstamm, 1841)

Wingspan 12 - 14mm. A widespread, but local species (Nationally Scarce B), predominantly coastal, in eastern and southern England, but also at a few inland sites. It is more scarce in Scotland, Wales and Ireland. It frequents saltmarshes and other coastal sites where the foodplants, Orache species (Atriplex spp.) occur.

There are at least two generations, the adult having been found from May to September. The larva feeds within the stem of the foodplant leaving dry, whitish frass exuding from the hole.

This species is usually the palest of the saltmarsh Scrobipalpa, being greyer and lacking in any red-brown colouration on the wings. Similar species such as S. nitentella and S. atriplicella usually, also, have larger and more distinct blackish spots ("obsoletella" is a reference to the "obsolete" dark spots that are lacking in the basal area of this species). However, there is often considerable variation within most saltmarsh inhabiting Scrobipalpa so identification from the wing markings alone will often not be possible.

(Scrobipalpa nitentella was distinguished from S. obsoletella in Britain as recently as 1935, consequently the true identity of some earlier records is doubtful).

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