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Thursday, 25 June 2020

Prospecting for mines....

Looking for larval mines in plants can be profitable daytime activity in terms of moth recording, particularly during this hot and sunny weather when looking for adult moths can be virtually useless - it`s just too bright, hot and sunny for them - cloudy and overcast still days are much better.

I`ll give a couple of examples from the micro-moth genus Mompha, the species of which are largely (but not exclusively) associated with willowherbs.

Above: a very easy one to find at present is Mompha epilobiella, found in the growing tips of the very common and widespread great (or hairy) willowherb Epilobium hirsutum. Look at the first picture and you can see the slightly wilted growing tip. Carefully open and you will see the yellow larva (with black head) of Mompha epilobiella.

Above: whilst weeding in the garden, I chanced upon a broad-leaved willowherb Epilobium montanum with a distinct gall (swelling) at the leaf-joint and, upon opening up, it revealed what I think is the larva of Mompha divisella.

Not shown about, but reasonably frequent on stands of rosebay willowherb Chamerion angustifolium, are the leaf mines of Mompha raschkiella.

A highly-recommended book is: Micro-moth Field Tips: A Guide to Finding the Early Stages in Lancashire and Cheshire by Ben Smart (2017).


  1. Thanks Ian, your posts are always so interesting and useful I have lots of rosebay willowherb here so will check them out.

    1. The Sterling & Parsons micro book pp 160-164 is also very useful re Mompha mines.