35.050 Aristotelia ericinella (Zeller, 1839)

Status and Distribution

Locally common on heaths and mosses and in moorland areas of England and Wales, very local in central Ireland and rare in Scotland. Not recorded from the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands.

National Status: 


Bradley & Fletcher no: 

Photographer: ©O Wadsworth

Provisional Map

Maps updated with all data received by January 2022.


Aristotelia ericinella (Photo: P Clement)  Aristotelia ericinella (Photo: T & D Pendleton)  Aristotelia ericinella, Devils Spittleful (Photo: O Wadsworth)  Aristotelia ericinella (Photo: G & D Atherton)  Aristotelia ericenella (Photo: B Smart)  Aristotelia ericinella, Devils Spittleful (Photo: O Wadsworth)      


Dissection Group

Foodplant and Larval Feeding Signs

Calluna vulgaris (heather) - see plant distribution map.  In Europe also utilises Erica herbacea and Empetrum nigrum (crowberry).

In a slender silk tube amongst the twigs of heather from which it is easily dislodged.  Following this it will make a new silk tube leading to the potential presence of many empty tubes.

Foodplant Map


Aristotelia ericinella habitat Cors Fochno, Ceredigion, 2016 (Photo: S Palmer)

Heathland and lowland mosses (raised bogs), in the drier areas where good stands of heather occur.

Finding the Moth

Larva: feeds in silken tubes amongst the upper twigs of heather.

Adult: can be readily swept from amongst the foodplant where it is easily disturbed, flying in the afternoon and evening.  It occasionally comes to light.

Similar Species

A distinctive, strongly marked species which will not be confused with other species occuring amongst heather

Larval Occurrence

Larval Occurrence

Flight Period

Flight Period

Single-brooded from late June to early September.

Earliest: 24th June 1992 (VC58) and 24th June 2011 (VC62).

Latest: 15th September 2006 (VC37 and VC40).