Cosmopterix pulchrimella

Chambers’ Cosmet
Cosmopterix pulchrimella


POHL: 42-0355
MONA: 1472

Head: Dark brown, greenish reflections with 3 white lines, one long one down center, one very short one over each eye. Eyes often reddish. Face gray. Palpi long, up-curved; white; segment 2 brown on underside, segment 3 with long brown stripe on sides.
Antenna: Base (scape) dark brown with white stripe. Segments dark brown with 5 to 6 intermittent white before tip.
Thorax: Dark brown with greenish reflections. White line down center. Main ID: No white line down each side.
Wings: Forewing dark brown, shiny with 3 short white dashes in basal area. A wide orange stripe (or may be same colour as wing) is bordered with silvery-golden bands. Top band is entire across wing. Lower band narrows at costal side and trails toward wing tip blending in with the fringe. Small silver to white dash near wing tip.  Fringe dark brown, tip white. Hindwing and fringe shiny, brown.
Legs: Dark brown with white lines and rings.
Abdomen: Dark brown, ringed with white. Abdomen tip tuft brown.

Size: 4 mm long. Wingspan 7 to 9 mm.

Habitat: Rich woods in moist, shaded areas.

Food: Plants in the Nettle family, but with non-stinging leaves: Pellitory-of-the-wall Parietaria officinalis, Pennsylvania Pellitory Parietaria pensylvanica and Richweed or Canadian Clearweed Pilea pumila.

Flight Time: May to June; again in September.

 Life Cycle: 2 generations per year. Females lay eggs on leaves. Larvae start a mine at midrib on the leaf. Frass is ejected through hole, so leaf mine stays white. Cocoon formed inside the mine, between leaves or on the ground.
Larva: Yellowish to grayish-white body, tip grayish-brown, legs pale brown; head black with thin white lines. Shield broad, oval, black with white line at center. 

Comments: Essex County – Point Pelee National Park in 2012. Wheatley   

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