35.057 Metzneria littorella (Douglas, 1850)

Status and Distribution

Rare, recorded only from two coastal areas in England (in East Sussex and the Isle of Wight) and one in the Channel Islands (Guernsey).


National Status: 

pRDB 1

Bradley & Fletcher no: 

Photographer: ©S Palmer
Location: Niton, IOW

Provisional Map

Maps updated with all data received by January 2020.


    Metzneria littorella, Niton (Photo: S Palmer)  Metzneria littorella, Niton (Photo: S Palmer)  Metzneria littorella, Niton (Photo: S Palmer)


    Metzneria littorella pupa (Photo: S Palmer)

    Dissection Group

    Foodplant and Larval Feeding Signs

    Plantago coronopus Niton IOW 2013 (Photo: S M Palmer)

    Plantago coronopus (buck’s-horn plantain), see plant distribution map.

    There are no obvious external signs of feeding damage. A slight compression or tightening of the empty seed husks against the stem occurs as the larva matures. With a hand lens, fine grains of sand or grit are visible affixed to the silken tube attached to the stem.

    Foodplant Map


    Metzneria littorella habitat Niton IOW 2013 (Photo: S M Palmer)

    South facing, sparsely vegetated soft rock under-cliff and landslips where vegetation has started to recolonise.

    Finding the Moth

    Larva: feeds on the seeds from beneath a dense silken tube fixed against the central stalk of a seedhead from September to March. The larva cuts an elongate hole in the stem and spins a dense but very thin cocoon in the stem, usually just below the seed-head, for pupation from March to early May.

    Adult: can be disturbed amongst the foodplant during the day, its small size and shape being reminiscent of a Coleophorid.

    Similar Species

    Its small size and the greyish white forewing colour, speckled black, with two pale ochre-yellow stripes, readily distinguish this species from other members of the genus.

    Larval Occurrence

    Larval Occurrence

    Flight Period

    Flight Period

    Single-brooded from late April to mid June.

    Earliest: 1st May 1993 (VC113).

    Latest: 23rd June 2006 (VC14).