Readily disturbed from vegetation by day and nectars in sunshine. Flies from dusk and comes to light.

When at rest the wings are held flat but sometimes when feeding or temporarily resting at flowers the wings can be closed or partly closed over its back like a butterfly.

Overwinters as a larva, becoming fully fed in May. Pupates within a cocoon attached to blades or stems of grass.

Size and Family

  • Family – Thorns, Beauties and allies ( Ennomines )
  • Small / Medium Sized 
  • Wingspan Range - 38-48mm

Conservation Status

  • UK BAP: Priority species
  • Fully protected in Great Britain
  • Rare (Red Data Book) 

Caterpillar Food Plants

Marjoram (Origanum vulgare), Black Knapweed (Centaurea nigra), Common Brid's-foot-trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) and probably other herbs.


Longer-turfed, fairly herb-rich chalk grassland, characterised by the presence of Tor-grass (Brachypodium pinnatum).


  • Countries – England
  • Now restricted to a small number of sites in central Kent. Formerly reported from a few other parts of southern England
  • Distribution Trend Since 1970s = Britain: Stable
Black-veined Moth (upperwing) - Tamás Nestor

Black-veined Moth (upperwing)

Black-veined Moth (upperwing) - Ryszard Szczygieł

Black-veined Moth (upperwing)

Black-veined moth (underwing) - Bob Eade

Black-veined moth (underwing)

Black-veined Moth by Mark Parsons

Black-veined Moth

Black-veined Moth (pale form) - Vlad Proklov

Black-veined Moth (pale form)

Black-veined Moth - Koen Thonissen

Black-veined Moth

Black-veined Moth (male & female) - Aleksey Gnilenkov

Black-veined Moth (male & female)

Black-veined Moth (egglaying) - Pavel Kirillov

Black-veined Moth (egglaying)