Similar in appearance to the Hornet Moth it can be distinguished by the black head and shoulder and a yellow collar. It is also smaller in size.

They usually overwinter twice as larvae. In the first year the caterpillars feed close to the ground but move slightly higher up the tree trunk in the second year.

Size and Family

  • Family – Clearwing moths (Sesiidae)
  • Medium Sized
  • Wingspan Range – 30-38mm

Conservation status

  • UK BAP: Not listed
  • Common

Caterpillar Food Plants

Sallows and willows, and possibly also poplars, particularly those in damp situations.


Fens, open woodland, heaths, moors, hedgerows and old quarries where the foodplants can be found.


  • Countries – England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland
  • Common. Widespread across England and Wales, southern Scotland and scattered records in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Local and rare in the Channel Islands.
Lunar Hornet - Koen Thonissen

Lunar Hornet

Lunar Hornet - Peter Maton

Lunar Hornet

Lunar Hornet - Peter Maton

Lunar Hornet

Lunar Hornet Moth - Ian Kimber

Lunar Hornet Moth

Lunar Hornet Moth larval burrows - Patrick Clement

Lunar Hornet Moth (Caterpillar burrows)