Thursday, 21 November 2019

Found indoors

Yesterday afternoon, I found this moth on a wall in the kitchen.  I think it is Acrolepia autumnitella.  It's new to me and I'm not sure about this: here's how I worked it out.  Unfortunately, when I was photographing the moth, I didn't notice that the focus was poor, except towards the termen.
Acrolepia autumnitella? Newton Longville, 20th November

Acrolepiopsis assectella looks similar, and is a similar size (my moth had a forewing length of about 5½mm). However, assectella is described as being greyish brown, and mine is quite coppery (especially the cilia). The guide also mentions that Acrolepia autumnitella has a scattering of white scales before the termen which can form white cross-lines, and it can have a short black streak at about four fifths: I think both of these are visible in the photo.

There's also Acrolepiopsis betulella which is even more similar, but that's only found far to the north.

Have I got it right?

Tim Arnold
Newton Longville, Bucks


  1. Hi Tim,

    To me that looks good for Acrolepia autumnitella. It appears here occasionally too, and of ten "garden" records five of them were actually found indoors during the winter months.

  2. Thanks, Dave. It's interesting that they're so often found indoors in winter. The foodplant is members of the Solanaceae family (specifically, Bittersweet, but also Deadly Nightshade and Tomato), so I rather doubt that they're breeding indoors - although I suppose they might come in unnoticed with "on the vine" tomatoes. I don't have windows open at night at this time of year, so they're probably not coming in that way.

    My theory is that they are probably trying to hibernate, finding some nooks and crannies on the outside of the house, crawling into those, and all-of-a-sudden finding themselves inside. For example, in our kitchen we have a vent in the external wall for the tumble-dryer which isn't properly sealed (and which we feel when the wind is from the North!). I've seen something similar happen with flies in another house: in late autumn, one particular room fills with flies, and it has old poorly-fitting windows.


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