Saturday 7 February 2015

Micro-moth field tips - Limnaecia phragmitella

Ben Smart.

Limnaecia phragmitella
The larvae of this species feed communally in the seedheads of bulrush throughout the winter.
Their presence can be recognised by large amounts of white seeds protruding from the seedheads as in the photo. The seeds are held together with silk from the larvae.
Larvae are well camouflaged within the seeds and although distinctive are difficult to spot.
To rear, it is probably best to check first that there is a larva present, as if there is one, there will be many more. Then put the whole of the seed head or two in a stocking/pop sock and tie up outside. Make sure it is tied securely and that there are no holes in the material as these larvae do like to wander once they are disturbed. Alternatively, put a few larvae in an 8x8 cm plastic pot with a handful of seeds. Keep the pot in the shed. You should only need to change the seeds every few weeks.
Flight period of adult is June to August.

This is a common moth, but there are only 3 records for the county and I am afraid to's another 'little brown job'!


  1. I had 6 of these last year in Pembs - one by the outside light, one in an MV trap and 4 in a Actinic trap, all in late July. Although indeed brown, it is quite distinctive and not too small - definitely worth looking out for.

    1. Thanks for the reply Rosemary :-)
      I am hoping these tips will get a few more people in Ceredigion interested in micros.

  2. I now have a box full of lively larvae that are proving to be escape artists!!


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