Eriocrania semipurpurella

Alternative names
Large Spring Jewel
Early Purple

Wingspan 10 to 16 mm. The adults are difficult to tell apart from E. sangii without reference to the genitalia structure, but the larvae are quite different, semipurpurella being white or yellowish, sangii being quite dark grey. 

Identification difficulty

Adult Leafmine with larva

Recording advice

Adult: Unless identified by a recognised expert, a photo is required and the specimen should be examined with a microscope. In the comments box, state the key or ID method used and describe the size and identifying characters.

Leafmine and larva: Unless identified by a recognised expert, photos are required showing the mine (preferably backlit to show frass) and the larva which should be removed from the mine for the purpose of photography.


Where Birch is present.

When to see it

The adults fly in March and April, especially in sunshine.

Life History

The larva mines in a Birch leaf, forming a large blotch, from March to May.

UK Status

The commonest and most widespread of the Eriocrania species that feed on birch, occurring throughout most of Britain. In the Butterfly Conservation's Microlepidoptera Report 2011 this species was classified as common.

VC55 Status

Infrequent, though possibly under recorded in Leicestershire and Rutland.

2.007 BF13

Leicestershire & Rutland Map


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

UK Map

Species profile

Common names
Early Purple
Species group:
Records on NatureSpot:
First record:
28/03/2019 (Skevington, Mark)
Last record:
15/05/2023 (Calow, Graham)

Total records by month

% of records within its species group

10km squares with records

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