Adults of the species are sexually dimorphic. The wingspan is 18–19 mm for males and 22–24 mm for females. The forewings are white. The costa, discal spot and a series of terminal spots are all fuscous. The hindwings are white with scatted pale fuscous scales. The moth flies from May to August depending on the location.
Larvae are semiaquatic. C. lemnata larvae have been recorded feeding on duckweed species (including Lemna species and Spirodela polyrhiza), as well as water ferns of the genus Azolla. The species is known to pupate in cocoons or shelters built from plant material.
- Nuss, M.; et al. (2003–2011). "GlobIZ search". Global Information System on Pyraloidea. Retrieved October 11, 2011.
- "Small China-mark Cataclysta lemnata". UKMoths. Retrieved 30 January 2017.
- Farahpour-Haghani, Atousa; Hassanpour, Mahdi; Alinia, Faramarz; Nouri-Ganbalani, Gadir; Razmjou, Jabraeil; Agassiz, David (20 January 2017). "Water ferns Azolla spp. (Azollaceae) as new host plants for the small China-mark moth, Cataclysta lemnata (Linnaeus, 1758) (Lepidoptera, Crambidae, Acentropinae)". Nota Lepidopterologica. 40 (1): 1–13. doi:10.3897/nl.40.10062. ISSN 2367-5365.
- Agassiz, David J. L. (2012). "The Acentropinae (Lepidoptera: Pyraloidea: Crambidae) of Africa" (PDF). Zootaxa. 3494: 1–73. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.3494.1.1. ISBN 978-1-86977-986-3.
- Pabis, Krzysztof (2014). "Life cycle, host plants and abundance of caterpillars of the aquatic moth Cataclysta lemnata (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) in the post-glacial lake in central Poland" (PDF). North-Western Journal of Zoology. 10 (2): 441–444. ISSN 1843-5629. Retrieved 30 January 2017.
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