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Bronze Alder Moth Argyresthia goedartella

The Bronze Alder Moth is similar to some other moths in its family. But usually it can be identified with ease by looking at the gold or bronze coloured Y in the middle of the wings. However it sometimes lacks the Y and is gold or bronze all over. Reaching a wingspan of 10 to 13 mm, this is quite a small species. The Bronze Alder Moth flies in the afternoon and early evening. In Britain it is on the wing from June to the end of August. On the continent it is seen from May to October.

Despite the name, the larvae of this species feed on both alder and birch. The females lay their eggs in summer. The larvae feed inside shoots or catkins. These catkins are more or less deformed and show a little hole on the side where the caterpillars takes out the frass. Those catkins are soft. Just before winter the caterpillar move to a hard male catkin in which it overwinters. In May it crawls under the bark of the tree, where pupation takes place.

The Bronze Alder Moth is a common species all over Britain, except for the Shetlands. It is common all over Europe and in many parts of Northern America too.

In the past the Argyresthiidae were considered part of the family of Small Ermines, but now they make up a family of their own. The English common name of this family Shiny Head-Standing Moths is used infrequently only. Most people stick to the scientific name.