35.083 Xystophora pulveratella (Herrich-Schäffer, 1854)

Status and Distribution

Very local in several parts of the Highlands of Scotland. Historic records are known from at least five other well scattered locations extending from south Devon to the Clyde area. The record from Devon is considered unreliable and that from Gloucestershire is open to question (Parsons, M., 2015. Possible and Potential Moth Extinctions in England). Of the remaining sites, it was last recorded in 1912 (Co. Durham) and is now considered extinct in England.

National Status: 

pRDB 2

Bradley & Fletcher no: 

Photographer: Photo wanted

Provisional Map

Maps updated with all data received by January 2020.

    Set Specimens

    Xystophora pulveratella female (Photo: B Heckford)  X pulveratella (male) (Photo: B Heckford)  X pulveratella

    Dissection Group

    Foodplant and Larval Feeding Signs

    Xystophora pulveratella foodplant Scotland 2019 (Photo: S Palmer)

    Lotus corniculatus (bird's-foot-trefoil), see plant distribution map, Lathyrus linifolius (formerly montanus - bitter-vetch) and Trifolium pratense (red clover).

    In Europe also found on Securigera varia (crown vetch), Lathyrus pratensis (meadow vetchling), Medicago minima (bur medick), M. sativa (lucerne), Onobrychis (sainfoin) and Vicia cracca (tufted vetch).

    In Meyrick, E., 1927, A Revised Handbook of Lepidoptera, Coronilla (now Securigera) and Medicago are listed as food-plants but this is considered unlikely, as is a European report of Achillea millefolium (yarrow), (Emmet and Langmaid, 2002).

    Foodplant Map


    Xystophora pulveratella habitat Scotland 2019 (Photo: S Palmer)

    In Scotland, on partially sheltered and sunny slopes which are either predominantly flowery grassland or grass-heath. They are at low altitude in Highland lower valley sides and often occur alongside Athrips tetrapunctella (thanks to Dr. M. R. Young for these details and observations).

    Habitat not described in England.

    Finding the Moth

    Larva: spins leaves together from which it feeds on surrounding foliage.

    Adult: flies low over the foodplant at dusk.

    Similar Species

    Forewings without any obvious markings, the scales being light fuscous, tipped with buff. The head and thorax are of a similar colour but the palpi are buffish tinged reddish towards the base of segment two when fresh and more whitish towards the apex of segment three. If this species is suspected away from the known locations in Scotland it is recommended the record be supported with no more than a single voucher specimen due to the moths status.

    Larval Occurrence

    Larval Occurrence

    Flight Period

    Flight Period

    Single brooded from late May to the end of June.

    Very limited data available on the flight period in Britain.