Common Heath

  • Common Heath (female)
    Common Heath (female)
  • Common Heath (male)
    Common Heath (male)
  • Common Heath (female)
    Common Heath (female)
  • Common Heath (male)
    Common Heath (male)

Scientific name: Ematurga atomaria

May to August. Britain and Ireland. A small moth with a ground colour which ranges from white to brown or grey. Often found near heather, heath, trefoils, clovers and vetches.

Sometimes with dark brown bands on the forewings, sometimes just freckles, or the bands are merged or absent. The male has feathery antennae. Usually rests with its wings held flat. Superficially similar to the Latticed Heath, although that species usually rests with it wings held closed over its back. In the Highlands of Scotland, the Netted Mountain Moth can occur in similar habitats, although that species is generally slightly smaller and darker.

The adults fly by day, particularly in warmer weather and are also readily disturbed from heathy vegetation. The caterpillars can be found from mid-June to mid-September before overwintering as pupae in a flimsy cocoon on or just below ground.

Size and Family

  • Family – Thorns, Beauties and allies (Ennomines)
  • Small Sized 
  • Wingspan Range 24-30mm

Conservation Status

  • UK BAP: Not listed
  • Common

Caterpillar Food Plants

Heather (Calluna vulgaris), Bell Heather (Erica cinerea), Cross-leaved Heath (Erica tetralix), as well as on clovers, trefoils and vetches.


Found heathland, moorland, and also meadows and other grasslands, including downland, woodland rides and road verges.


  • Countries – England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland
  • Widely distributed over mainland Britain, the Hebrides, Orkney, Isle of Man and Ireland. Also found on Jersey.

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