Status and Distribution
Common over much of England and Wales, more local in northern England, central Wales and central lowland Scotland. Local to very local in south-west England, southern Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland. Apparently absent from most of Northern Scotland (recorded once in the central Highlands), Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.
Bradley & Fletcher no:
Maps updated with all data received by January 2020.
Foodplant and Larval Feeding Signs
Centaurea nigra (common knapweed), see plant distribution map, and Serratula tinctoria (saw-wort). Bred from Centaurea paniculata (jersey knapweed) on the Isle of Wight in 1967 (E C Pelham-Clinton).
In Europe, also found on Centaurea scabiosa (greater knapweed), Centaurea montana (perennial cornflower), Centaurea phrygia, Centaurea jacea and Centaurea pratensis.
No external signs of feeding damage.
Finding the Moth
Larva: in the seed-heads from late August, overwintering until pupation in April. Overwintered seed-heads can produce large numbers of adults.
Adult: flies at night and comes to light.
M. lappella is on average slightly larger, generally paler and lacks the dark reddish-brown streaks speckled with whitish present in M. metzneriella. The other brownish Metzneria species lack the prominent black spot on the forewing at three-quarters. Worn moths may require dissection.
Single-brooded from late May to early August. There have been only two records in September as detailed below.
Earliest: 6th May 2005 (VC8).
Latest: 6th September 2006 (VC62) and 19th September 2011 (VC27).