Scrobipalpa acuminatella
Scrobipalpa acuminatella
Adult • Reared from Cirsium arvense, Chorlton, Greater Manchester • ©

35.109 BF822
Scrobipalpa acuminatella

(Sircom, 1850)


Wingspan 10-14 mm.

Widely distributed across much of the British Isles, this species occupies rough and open ground where thistles abound.

The larvae mine the leaves of various thistles (Carduus and Cirsium), forming a pale, sometimes slightly inflated blotch.

Generally there are two generations, with adults on the wing in April to June and again in July to September.


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    Larva: (description Ian F. Smith):

    Foodplant: June-July and Sept.-Oct. in irregular brown or whitish leaf mine on Cirsium, Carduus and, possibly, Sonchus asper

    Intermediate instar

    Length: 8 mm
    Head: Shiny brown. Posterior strongly edged with pitchy black line, expanding into a black postero-lateral band which extends forward as a grey-black band to include the stemmatal area. Frons thinly outlined pitchy brown. 
    Prothoracic shield: Shiny transparent, tinted light brown. Black posterior edge of head clearly visible. Divided by thin paler medial line. Dorsally darker brown. Large pitchy black postero- lateral area. 
    Thoracic legs: Concolorous coxa with black basal horseshoe collar on inside. Femur black. Tibia and tarsus greyish brown.
    Body: Olive-brown. Paler ventrally. Grey dorsally when the gut is full.
    Spiracles: Small, black peritreme.
    Pinacula: Black or dark grey, largest on segment A9.
    Setae: Transparent colourless.
    Anal plate: Shiny transparent concolorous, but if frass in A10, it shows black. Faint grey shading on cuticle strongest at posterior.
    Prolegs: Base greenish white translucent with grey-black ring. Planta transparent whitish. Crochets dark grey.
    Final instar
    Length: 10 mm described.
    Head: Black. 
    Prothoracic shield: Pitchy black. Divided by thin yellowish white medial line. 
    Thoracic legs: Concolorous coxa with black basal horseshoe collar on inside. Femur black. Tibia and tarsus greyish brown.
    Body: Each segment has a bright red-pink anterior and yellowish posterior. Red-pink is less intense ventrally.
    Spiracles: Small, black peritreme.
    Pinacula: Black or dark grey, largest on segment A9.
    Setae: Transparent colourless.
    Anal plate: Blackish.
    Prolegs: Light brown. Crochets dark grey.

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