- Subfamily: Acentropinae
- Wingspan: 22-33 mm
- Flight period: Jun - Sep
- Spread: Common
- Host plants: Menyanthaceae - Nymphaeaceae - Potomagetonaceae ...
Elophila nymphaeata is a moth of the Crambidae family, Acentropinae subfamily,
subfamily characterized by the fact that in most of the species the larvae are aquatic, with wingspan of 22-24 mm.
It is distributed throughout Europe with the exception of Portugal, Slovenia, Serbia, Montenegro and Ukraine. In Italy it is present also in the islands. *
The Elophila nymphaeata has a variable coloration and it is therefore difficult to give an accurate description, even if many specimens appear like those in the photos. Some specimens may be dark with just hinted spots, others in which the contrast between the light spots and the dark background is very pronounced, still others may have delicately patterned white spots and stripes.
The adults of Elophila nymphaeata are visible from early June to mid-September. More abundant in the second half of July and August. They are active at dusk and are attracted to artificial light. It is a fairly common moth around ponds, lakes and canals.
The caterpillar lives on the leaves of the host plants on the surface of the water, initially, it creates a tunnel inside the leaves of the host plant, subsequently creates a sort of bivalve shell with two ovals made with pieces of leaf from which it feeds. It is translucent yellowish transparent green, with an ocher head. Pupation occurs in a cocoon covered with leaf pieces, attached to the stem of a plant about 25 mm above the water level.
The larva feeds on the leaves of Potomagetonaceae such as Potamogeton and also on other aquatic plants, Sparganiaceae such as Sparangium spp., Hydrocharitaceae such as Hydrocharis, Menyanthaceae as Nymphoides sp. and on Nymphaeaceae as Nymphaea sp. (water lily).
* Lepidoptera mundi https://lepidoptera.eu/ - Fauna Europea https://fauna-eu.org/