This moth varies in size, typically with four stripes across the forewing and three on the hindwing, although these can be less or even absent.  Similar to the Common Wave and the Common White Wave, but usually larger with more stripes and less rounded forewings and appearing more grey. May fly by day in dry weather but also readily disturbed from vegetation. Also flies from dusk.

The larvae can be found from August to late the following May.

Size and Family

  • Family – Thorns, Beauties and allies (Ennomines)
  • Medium Sized 
  • Wingspan range 30-40mm

Conservation Status

  • UK BAP: Not listed
  • Local (only found in some areas)

Caterpillar Food Plants

Heather (Calluna vulgaris), Bell Heather (Erica cinerea), Broom (Cytisus scoparius) and Petty Whin (Genista anglica).


Prefers lowland heathland, but also found in open woodland and other habitats with heathy characteristics, including commons, moorland and bogs.


  • Countries – England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland
  • Well distributed and reasonably common on the heaths of southern England including Dorset, Hampshire, Surrey and Berkshire, but more restricted in Devon and Cornwall.  Found throughout the rest of Britain but thinly distributed, with strong populations or centres of distribution being  found in Glamorgan, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire and Cumbria.  Patchily distributed in lowland Scotland and south-western to Northern Ireland.
Grass Wave (male) by Dave Green

Grass Wave (male)

Grass Wave - Koen Thonissen

Grass Wave

Grass Wave (male) - Patrick Clement

Grass Wave (male)

Grass Wave (female) - Garry Barlow

Grass Wave (female)

Grass Wave (male) - Stuart Read

Grass Wave (male)

Grass Wave (female) - Janet Graham

Grass Wave (female)