Smaller than the Satin Lutestring. Can be identified by the pair of small dark spots in the centre of the forewing. The strength of the cross-lines varies considerably between forms. The darker form f. obscura is almost entirely grey-brown and is common across much of England. Draker forms are often found in London, Midlands and Scotland and forms with stronger bands are more often found in the north and west including Ireland.

The adults fly at night and are attracted to light.

The caterpillars can be found from late July to early October feeding at night and resting between two leaves spun flat together during the day. They overwinter as pupae in a delicate cocoon between leaves of the foodplant which fall to the ground with the leaves in autumn.

Size and Family

  • Family – Thyatridae
  • Medium Sized
  • Wingspan Range – 28-36mm

Conservation status

  • UK BAP: Not listed
  • Common

Caterpillar Food Plants

Birches and sometimes Alder (Alnus glutinosa), Hazel (Corylus avellana) and oaks


Light woodland and scrub with birches including river valleys and heathland.


  • Countries – England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland
  • Widely distributed throughout England, Wales and mainland Scotland. Local in Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.
Common Lutestring

Common Lutestring

Common Lutestring - Patrick Clement

Common Lutestring

Common Lutestring - Garry Barlow

Common Lutestring

Common Lutestring - Ben Sale

Common Lutestring

Common Lutestring - Sue Davies

Common Lutestring

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