|The Blackberry Skeletoniser, Schreckensteinia festaliella|
Schreckensteinia festaliella is the only member of the bristle leg moths, family Schreckensteiniidae, to occur in Europe, and only one of five species in whole the family. Although it is a small (c. 10 mm) moth, it has a fearsome common name: the Blackberry Skeletoniser. Putting one in mind of a character from the 1980's cartoon serial 'He-Man', it gets this name from the larvae's feeding habits on blackberry and other Roseacea species (1). Attacks can lead to extreme damage, leaving nothing but skeletons of leaves on plants, hence the name. However, only one case of severe damage to cultivated crops has been noted, that of Raspberries in Scotland (2).
|The Blackberry Skeletoniser, Schreckensteinia festaliella, in distinctive repose with hind leg raised. Note the spines on the hind leg.|
The bristle leg moths get their name from the quite large spines that occur on the hindmost legs. The slender winged adults are may be seen in repose with, quite distinctively with their hind legs raised and projected over the abdomen. Although native to Europe, S. festaliella was introduced to North America between 1963 and 1969 to control invasive wild blackberry (Rubus argutus) (3).
- Capinera, 2008. Encyclopedia of Entomology p. 564
- Alford, 2007. Pests of Fruit Crops: a Colour Handbook p. 238
- Nagata and Markin, 1986. Proceedings of the Sixth Conference of Natural Science, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park pp. 541-547