T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Glyphipterix simpliciella (Cocksfoot moth)

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Glyphipterigidae
Genus: Glyphipterix
Species: G. simpliciella
Binomial name: Glyphipterix simpliciella
Synonyms: Heribeia simpliciella, Heribeia cognatella, Oecophora conjunctella, Ornix colluripennella, Elachista aechmiella, Aechmia fischeriella, Aechmia desiderella, Aechmia desideratella, Aechmia roesllerstammella, Glyphipteryx nattani
Common name: Cocksfoot moth

Glyphipterix simpliciella is a very small cryptic moth and is a species of moth in the family Glyphipterigidae. 
The Cocksfoot moth is native to the western part of the Palaearctic ecozone. Cocksfoot moth was first reported to New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) in June 2014. It may have been present here but undetected in New Zealand for many decades. The pathway of entry is unknown but introduction may date from the period when cocksfoot hay was imported, (1920s), or from the period when raw seed mixes were imported for mass sowing of pastures after bush clearance. Because of its spread the Ministry of Primary Industries has concluded that eradication of this moth is not feasible.

Glyphipterix simpliciella is a tiny moth, 3 or 4mm long and a wingspan of 7–9 mm, it is easily overlooked. The adult moth has dark brown forewings which are slightly metallic with a black apical spot. A typical specimen has five evenly-spaced silvery streaks along its costa, two along the dorsum, and one arising from the middle of the tornus. The hindwings are a dark grey but not metallic, with cilia which are evenly grey. The sexes are similar. The adults can be seen in pasture areas especially those rich with buttercups (Ranunculus). There can sometimes be 20 or more to one flower.

The larval foodplant is mainly the grass Dactylis glomerata (Cocksfoot) and Festuca arundinacea (Tall Fescue), where the tiny caterpillars feed on the seeds, later pupating in the stem.