Morley’s Final Catalogue: Probably common everywhere among scabious in July. Monks Soham, occasionally at light, and not uncommon in Blythburgh Wood in September (Mly); Lowestoft (Bd). Taken at Brandon by Barrett, who also there found the Var. plagiodactyla, Stn., which Williams records further from Elveden.
Recent Status: The species is well recorded across Suffolk, however any pre-2005 specimens that are retained and were captured in the vicinity of Breckland should be re-examined with the aid of Colin Hart’s book with respect to S. annadactyla and S. scabiodactylus. Morley’s var plagiodactylus if correctly assigned refers to S. scabiodactylus.
Life Style: A double or possibly treble brooded species being found from May to September. The larvae feed on Succisa and Knautia. They pupate on the foodplant or adjacent vegetation.
Identification: This moth along with S. annadactyla and S. scabiodactylus are virtually inseparable except on the genitalia of the female. Anyone wishing to record one of these three species as adults anywhere near Breckland should refer to Colin Hart’s book and provide the appropriate evidence. The larvae of Stenoptilia bipunctidactyla have differing feeding habits according to the two foodplants. Larvae on Succisa pratensis in spring, following hibernation, mine the mid-vein of a mature leaf and then feed externally on the leaf tips of new growth before spinning leaves together and creating feeding windows. Post hibernation larvae on Knautia arvensis feed in the young stem of a developing flower head and continue to do so until almost fully grown. Summer larvae feed in the flower heads of both plants leaving the petals intact.
Retained Specimen / Photograph will be Required.
Recorded in 19 (33%) of 58 10k Squares. First Recorded in 1998. Last Recorded in 2019. Additional Stats