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Dolicharthria punctalis

([Denis & Schiffermüller], 1775)

  • Subfamily: Spilomelinae
  • Wingspan: 20-25 mm
  • Flight period: May - Aug
  • Spread: Common
  • Host plants: Asteraceae, Fabaceae, Plantaginaceae


The Dolicharthria punctalis is a moth of the Crambidae family, subfamily Spilomelinae, with a wingspan of 20-25 mm.
Distributed in most of Europe, it is absent from Ireland, Norway, the Baltic countries and Russia. In Italy it is also present in the islands. *

The moths have an ocher background color, with intense brown dusting in the males, two dark brown lines cross the wing in the discal region and in the post discal region. The line in the post discal region has no rectilinear course and is surrounded by ocher towards the outside. A cream or yellowish, kidney-shaped spot is visible at the beginning of the median area. A second spot, smaller ovoid-shaped of the same color and not always visible, is present in the discoid cell. The margin is bordered in brown. The wing is fringed in dark brown.

The hind wings have an ocher base color, sprinkled with brown scales more intensely towards the margin. Also on these wings the two lines in the disc and post disc regions and sometimes the small clear spot in the discal region are visible, even if barely outlined.
The hind wings are also fringed in brown. Palpi head thorax and abdomen are brown.
The females of this species have the same characteristics as the males but the color ranges from ocher to golden yellow. **

As mentioned, the dimorphism is given by the lighter color of the females which are also much more shy and difficult to meet. Characteristic of this species are the very long legs, compared to others belonging to the subfamily of Spilomelinae and of Crambidae in general.
Adults fly from May to August depending on the latitude. The species can be attracted to artificial light.

The larvae feed on Asteraceae such as Artemisia vulgaris and Centaurea sp., Fabaceae, such as Lotus sp. and trifolium, and Plantaginaceae as Plantago sp. .
However, they have also been recorded on dry leaves, vegetable scraps and old roots. ***

* Lepidoptera mundi - Fauna Europea
** Bestimmungshilfe für die in Europa nachgewiesenen Schmetterlingsarten -
*** Grabe, Albert (1942): Eigenartige Geschmacksrichtungen bei Kleinschmetterlingsraupen ["Strange tastes among micromoth caterpillars"]. Zeitschrift des Wiener Entomologen-Vereins 27: 105-109. (in German) -

Dolicharthria punctalis
Dolicharthria punctalis
Dolicharthria punctalis
Dolicharthria punctalis