Status and Distribution

Very local, restricted to coastal areas of East Anglia, south and south east England. Occasionally present in good numbers at some sites.

National Status: 

Nationally Scarce A

Bradley & Fletcher no: 

Photographer: ©P Kitchener
Location: Suffolk

Provisional Map

Maps updated with all data received by January 2022.


Monochroa moyses Dunwich, Suffolk, 2014 (Photo: Paul Kitchener)


Dissection Group

Foodplant and Larval Feeding Signs

Monochroa moyses mine 2014 (Photo: S Palmer)

Bolboschoenus maritimus (sea club-rush), see plant distribution map.

Mines the leaves entering by a hole which is then covered with a thin area of silk, with additional internal lining of silk nearby. This can cause the ejected frass to collect around the hole.

Foodplant Map


Monochroa moyses habitat Hayling Island June 2013 (Photo: S M Palmer)  Monochroa moyses habitat Hants 2014 (Photo: S Palmer)

Coastal, on the edges of saltmarshes, brackish ponds and ditches.

Finding the Moth

Larva: mines the leaves of the rush from mid-August to mid-October. The larva can then either overwinter in the mine or vacate the stem to overwinter elsewhere. Pupation takes place in the Spring. Elachista scirpi (Lepidoptera: Elachistidae) also mine the leaves of this plant.

Adult: can be disturbed amongst the foodplant and has been known once to come to light.

Similar Species

The smallest of the Monochroa species, the forewings rather plainly marked with pale-based grey scales and a black spot in the centre of the wing at three-quarters. It has an indistinct pale ochreous oblique dash by the base of the costal cilia at three-quarters. The combination of size, colour and habitat requirements should assist with the identification but dissection may sometimes be necessary with worn specimens. See also notes in 'Finding' section of Monochroa hornigi.

Larval Occurrence

Larval Occurrence

Flight Period

Flight Period

Single-brooded during June and July.

Earliest: 27th May 2008 (VC11)

Latest: 30th July 2008 (VC11)