Wingspan 5-6 mm.
Distributed widely across much of the British Isles, this is a single-brooded species. The adults are on the wing during May, and the leafmines can be found from June into August.
The larva mines the leaves of birch (Betula). It is similar in appearance to that of S. lapponica, but has a black central line of frass throughout, unlike that species.
The inner part of the adult's forewing is dull greyish brown with some mottling. There is a dull whitish fascia beyond which the colour is darker grey-brown.