Psychoides verhuella

Alternative names
Hart's-tongue Smut

Wingspan 9 to 12 mm. The adult moth is dark blackish in colour and often has a violet reflection. It lacks the white tornal spot of P. filicivora.

Similar Species

An image showing both larval species for comparison is available here.

Identification difficulty

In areas with suitable amounts of the larval foodplants.

When to see it

Adult: May to July.

Life History

Larva (early and late instars) has black head, prothoracic shield and anal plate, which distinguish it from the other fern frond species, P. filicivora. It mines mature fern frond with well developed sporangia, usually Hart's-tongue, and makes case (vacant when larva in frond) resembling displaced sorus (spore body). Aug.-June, most prominent April-May. Pupal case has sharp crest when unworn.

UK Status

Local in distribution and mainly found in the southern half of 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).

12.047 BF199

Leicestershire & Rutland Map


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

UK Map