Mother Shipton

  • Mother Shipton
    Mother Shipton

Scientific name: Callistege mi

May to July. Britain and Ireland. Medium-sized, brown with a pale pattern on forewing, said to resemble a witch's face. Found in open grassy sites, such as downland, moorland, and flower-rich hay meadows.

A characteristic grassland species.Distinctive, with each forewing having creamy-coloured markings, the outlines of which resemble a witch’s face.

The moth is named after Old Mother Shipton, a 16th century Yorkshire witch.Usually flies for short distances, but is very alert after being disturbed, often alighting on flowers between flights.

Size and Family

  • Family – Catocalines
  • Medium Sized 
  • Wingspan Range - 26-32mm

Conservation status

  • UK BAP: Not listed
  • Common

Caterpillar Food Plants

Clovers (Trifolium sp.), Black Medick (Medicago lupulina), Lucerne (Medicago sativa), Common Bird’s-foot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus), as well as Cock’s-foot (Dactylis glomeratus) and other grasses.


Found on a range of open, grassy habitats, including downland, heathland, low moorland, flower-rich hay meadows, woodland rides, verges, embankments etc.


  • Countries – England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland
  • Fairly well distributed in England, Wales and Ireland, though more local in Scotland north to Ross-shire. Scarce on the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.