Superficially similar to several other species of Wave, but in particular the Dwarf Cream Wave (Idaea fuscovenosa). That species has conspicuous dark dots or dashes along the wing margins and also has a distinct dot near the middle of the forewing and hindwing. Readily disturbed from vegetation by day, flies from dusk and comes to light.

Size and Family

  • Family - Waves (Sterrhines)
  • Small Sized 
  • Wing Span Range (male to female) - 20-22mm

Conservation status

  • UK BAP: Priority Species
  • Red Data Book

Caterpillar Description

Overwinters as a part-grown larva, becoming full-fed around May

Particular Caterpillar Food Plants

Common Rock-rose (Helianthemum nummularium) and possibly other low-growing plants


  • Countries – England and Wales
  • Avon Gorge (Bristol), Great Orme (Caernarvonshire) and the Gower Peninsula (Glamorgan)
  • Distribution Trend Since 1970’s = Britain: Stable


Sparse vegetation, usually with some scrub, on well-drained limestone slopes


Silky Wave by Mark Parsons

Silky Wave

Similar species