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Ethmia quadrillella

(Goeze, 1783)

  • Subfamily: Ethmiinae
  • Wingspan: 15-19 mm
  • Flight period: May - Sep
  • Spread: Common
  • Host plants: Boraginaceae


The Ethmia quadrillella is a small moth of the Elachistidae family, with a wingspan of 15-19 mm.
In Europe it is present almost everywhere and absent in Ireland, Slovenia, the Balkan peninsula, Bulgaria and in Ukraine. In Italy it is absent from the islands. *

The front wings of the Ethmia quadrillella are white with black spots and bands. In particular, a black band starts from the basal region on the costa, to widen in the discal region, almost reaching the internal margin. Subsequently in the post-dical region it narrows into a short and narrow central band and then widens again covering the entire marginal area. Two other rounded black spots are visible, the largest in the center of the basal region and the smallest on one of the anal veins. The hind wings are white and dark gray from the post discal region to the apex, fringed. On the palps, head, thorax and abdomen the black and white colors are altered.

The mature larva is yellowish in color with two black bands and a central yellow one on the back, a series of small black strokes alternating with dots of the stout color in the center of the yellow band. The pupa is reddish brown. **

Adults fly in one generation per year from early May to mid-September. Autumn specimens may belong to a partial second generation. *** The larva lives in a light web on the underside of the leaves. It pupates in a white cocoon spun among the debris and overwinters in this stage.
The Ethmia quadrillella is mostly nocturnal, likes to rest on their food plants during the day and is attracted to artificial light. ***

The larvae feed on Boraginaceae such as Symphytum, Myosotis, Pulmonaria officinalis

* Lepidoptera mundi - Fauna Europea
** Bestimmungshilfe für die in Europa nachgewiesenen Schmetterlingsarten -
*** Catalogue of the Lepidoptera of Belgium -

Ethmia quadrillella
Ethmia quadrillella
Ethmia quadrillella
Ethmia quadrillella
Ethmia quadrillella
Ethmia quadrillella