Eriocrania cicatricella

Alternative names
Washed Purple

Wingspan 11mm. This is a tiny but quite beautiful little moth, its wings being a mix of metallic golds and purples when seen in the right light.

Identification difficulty
ID guidance


Around Birch.

When to see it

The adults fly around the foodplants during April, but are not often seen.

Life History

Like several of its congeners, the larval foodplant is Birch, the larvae creating a blotch mine in the leaves during May. The larval signs of this species can often be distinguished as they have a habit of feeding gregariously, with several larvae in a single blotch. The larvae are also generally smaller and whiter than related species.

UK Status

This spring-flying species is probably overlooked, but is generally well distributed throughout much of mainland Britain. In the Butterfly Conservation’s Microlepidoptera Report 2011 this species was classified as local.

VC55 Status

It appears to be uncommon in Leicestershire and Rutland, where there are few records. L&R Moth Group status = D (rare or rarely recorded). The lack of records could be partly due to the diminutive size of the species, and the difficulty of spotting the adult amongst Birch.

2.006 BF11

be our species champion

Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map