Orthotelia sparganella

Alternative names
Reed Smudge

Wingspan 20 to 28 mm. A fairly distinctive species, with a rather tent like body shape and with an ochreous or brownish wing colour that usually has noticeably paler venation and a faint row of darker dots near the dorsal edge of the wing.

Identification difficulty

Occupies wet localities such as ponds and canals.

When to see it

The adults fly in July and August and come sparingly to light.

Life History

Bur-reed (Sparganium) is the main foodplant, although other reeds and rushes are used. The larvae feed inside the stems.

UK Status

It is locally distributed from southern England northwards to southern Scotland. 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).

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


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

UK Map