Breckland Piercer Cydia millenniana
Wingspan: 14-18 mm.
Also known as the Larch Gall Moth, this species gets both its names from the conspicuous mining behaviour of its larvae.
Starting in July and continuing over the next two years, newly hatched larvae bore tunnels into the bark of young larch twigs. Wherever they mine, resinous galls begin to form, sometimes swelling to twice the twig’s normal diameter. Each gall remains soft and spongy while it is occupied by a larva, which pupates inside its walls in the spring of the second year. Only after the adult moth emerges and abandons its shelter does the gall harden and become woody.
Breckland Piercers take to the air from May until the end of June, flitting about the crowns of larch trees and depositing their eggs on new twigs. Their wings are painted with a dingy grey-brown palette of colours. Most noticeable on the forewing is a series of alternating black and cream coloured stripes along the front edge, as well as the larger black and grey markings near the outer margin.
In the UK this species is found only in East Anglia, frequenting areas where larch is abundant.
Description: Michela Sisti