Brown Plume - Stenoptilia pterodactyla


Wingspan 20 to 26 mm. Fresh specimens can be distinguished by their white costal cilia and ochreous, almost rust wing colour from the similar Stenoptilia bipunctidactyla, which has dark costal cilia and grey-brown wings. These differences may be less clear in worn specimens.

Identification difficulty

Meadows and well vegetated areas, especially where Germander Speedwell is present.

When to see it

Adults fly in one generation between late June and early August. They are attracted to light, and easily kicked up from vegetation in the daytime.

Life History

The larvae mine the shoots and stems of Germander Speedwell from August to March. In April and May they feed on the flowers and are very well camouflaged against the plants' stems, dropping to the ground when disturbed.

UK Status

Distributed throughout the British Isles, often commonly in the south, but less frequent in northern England and Scotland. In the Butterfly Conservation’s Microlepidoptera Report 2011 this species was classified as common.

VC55 Status

Fairly frequent but not common in Leicestershire and Rutland. L&R Moth Group status = B (scarce resident or restricted distribution or regular migrant).

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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