35.059 Metzneria aprilella (Herrich-Schäffer, 1854)

Status and Distribution

Local in central southern England, very local in parts of eastern and south-eastern England, the midlands and south Yorkshire; rare in south Wales.


National Status: 

Nationally Scarce B

Bradley & Fletcher no: 

Photographer: ©C M Manley
Location: Dorset

Provisional Map

Maps updated with all data received by January 2022.


Metneria aprilella Dorset, 2005 (Photo: C Manley)       

Set Specimens

Metzneria aprilella bred Centaurea scabiosa, Ports Down, Hants 1990 (Photo: B Heckford)

Dissection Group

Foodplant and Larval Feeding Signs

Centaurea scabiosa (greater knapweed), see plant distribution map.

In Europe, also found on Centaurea diffusa, C. paniculata and C. solstitialis.

Occupied seedheads remain closed and keep their seeds.

Foodplant Map


Metzneria aprilella habitat Tilshead, Wilts 2014 (Photo: S Palmer)  Metzneria aprilella habitat, Wilts 2014 (Photo: S Palmer)

Dry, usually calcareous grassland, wasteland and roadside verges.

Finding the Moth

Larva: from September onwards, in the seed-head. Pupates in April.

Adult: can be disturbed during the day near to the foodplant, flies at night and comes to light.

Similar Species

This species lacks any black stigmata on the forewing (present in M. metzneriella). Some of the Metzneria species have a similar ground colour but this is the only species with orange-red streaks. M. metzneriella can occasionally have strongly reddish-brown streaks but these do not have an orange tinge.

Larval Occurrence

Larval Occurrence

Flight Period

Flight Period

Single-brooded from late May to end of July.

Earliest: 28th May 2010 (VC16).

Latest: 7th August 2002 (VC8).