Seq # 185330320

Phyllonorycter medicaginella (Gerasimov, 1930) Species

Last modified: Oct. 3, 2020, 4:27 p.m.

This rare and local, xerothermic species was recorded for the first time in Belgium in 2000, in northeast LI. In 2001 the species had already colonized the whole country. As with many Gracillariidae, the species is easily detected by looking for mines on the larval host plant.


Family: Gracillariidae > Subfamily: Lithocolletinae > Genus: Phyllonorycter > Species: Phyllonorycter medicaginella
Vernacular names
Honingklavervouwmot (NL)
First mention in Belgium
Kuchlein J. H., Kuchlein-Nijsten C. & De Prins W. 2002. Phyllonorycter medicaginella, nieuw voor de Belgische fauna (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). — Phegea 30(3): 89–94. On page 89. view page




Head dark brown to blackish; forewing ground colour golden brown; white pattern consisting of a rather short basal line, finely edged with brown scales, a tranversal line (formed by merging the first costal and dorsal striae), two (rarely three) costal and two dorsal striae, all except the most apical ones, finely edged with brownish scales. A conspicuous black dot in the apical area.

Museum specimens

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Specimens in nature


A white tentiform mine on the underside of a leaf. In later stages, the mine occupies the entire leaf area, on the underside many small longitudinal folds close to each other. At the end the leaf curles completely over the mine and the caterpillar has consumed all the parenchyma, colouring the mine completely white so that it resembles much a like white pod. The frass is concentrated in a corner of the mine.
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The final instar does not construct a real cocoon, just some loose threads, a.o. some kind of wall separating the pupal chamber from the frass.


Pupation inside the loose spinning in the mine. The species hibernates in the pupal stage. After emergence of the adult, the pupal skin protrudes from the mine.

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Flight periods

The adults fly in several undefined generations a year: from May till late September.

Observed on

Host plant (species):
Melilotus albus
Host plant (genera):
Medicago and Melilotus

The larva lives in on different species Melilotus, especially M. albus, and Medicago.

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Road sides, ruderal places.

No pictures yet!