Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Clickable Guide
Moths Butterflies Flies Caterpillars Flies Dragonflies Flies Mantids Cockroaches Bees and Wasps Walkingsticks Earwigs Ants Termites Hoppers and Kin Hoppers and Kin Beetles True Bugs Fleas Grasshoppers and Kin Ticks Spiders Scorpions Centipedes Millipedes

Calendar
Upcoming Events

National Moth Week photos of insects and people. Here's how to add your images.

Photos of insects and people from the 2019 BugGuide Gathering in Louisiana, July 25-27

Discussion, insects and people from the 2018 gathering in Virginia, July 27-29

Photos of insects and people from the 2015 gathering in Wisconsin, July 10-12

Photos of insects and people from the 2014 gathering in Virginia, June 4-7.

Photos of insects and people from the 2013 gathering in Arizona, July 25-28

Photos of insects and people from the 2012 gathering in Alabama

Photos of insects and people from the 2011 gathering in Iowa


TaxonomyBrowseInfoImagesLinksBooksData
Photo#1049651
Burdock seedhead moth - Metzneria lappella

Burdock seedhead moth - Metzneria lappella
Trout Run WMA, Winneshiek County, Iowa, USA
February 5, 2015
On a bitterly cold, sunny February day I came across a pair of tufted titmice harvesting burdock seed balls (burrs). A titmouse would harvest a burr, fly to a perch, and hammer away at something inside the burr. With all that hammering I figured they were shelling and eating the seeds inside the burrs, as they do with black oil sunflower seeds from a bird feeder. But I had never seen a burdock seed so I started aping the titmice -- pulling apart the burrs to get to the seeds. Usually the seeds were packed together in a circle inside a burr and they would separate from each other and tumble out as I dismantled the burr. But then I noticed that, in a number of the burrs, several seeds were stuck -- seemingly cemented -- together. I pried apart several of these seed clumps, and lo and behold -- a plump, grublike larva dwelled in each clump, having drilled a tunnel through it that was scarcely bigger in diameter than the larva.

I'm grateful that someone in the UK (burdock is native there, right?) documented this phenomenon on the Gelechiid Recording Scheme website, identifying the larva as Metzneria lappella and the seed clumps as hibernacula in which the larvae overwinter and pupate. Plenty of pictures of the adult here in the US on BugGuide but none yet of the larva, so I'm adding these to start rounding out life cycle information for this species in the guide.

Thanks, titmice!

Intact hibernacula:

Images of this individual: tag all
Burdock seedhead moth - Metzneria lappella Burdock seedhead moth - Metzneria lappella Burdock seedhead moth - Metzneria lappella