Thursday, 12 April 2012

Elachista nobilella

This species was only discovered in the UK a few years ago; by Graham Collins in Surrey. It has subsequently been found in most other counties in the south-east but as all the records have been made by a small number of people who are aware of its existence and know how to find it, the true distribution could be much wider.

The larvae mine the leaves of Wavy Hair-grass Deschampsia flexuosa. Surely it isn't possible to fit a larva inside a Wavy Hair-grass leaf? Well it is! Two occupied mines are shown below.

The moth seems to like plants that are in woodland, at least partially shaded and often on a bank or ridge. They also seem to like scattered plants, rather than the extensive 'lawns' that Wavy Hair-grass often forms, although it may just be that it is easier to see the mines when there isn't too much potential habitat! I found a number of vacated mines today so if you want to look for this species, you had better do it soon. A picture of the habitat where one of the occupied mines was found is shown below.

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