Probably the UK's most common immigrant moth. Each forewing has a conspicuous unbroken metallic silver Y-marking. Could be mistaken for the Ni Moth, which is generally smaller with a broken-Y mark or the Scarce Silver Y which is darker in colour. Superficially similar to several other species, but generally distinctive. F. gammina is smaller and can be found in most years.

Usually most numerous from late summer into autumn, it can occur in any month with those in the winter generally associated with warmer southerly winds.

Size and Family

  • Family – Silver and Gold Ys, and Brasses (Plusiines)
  • Medium Sized 

Conservation status

  • UK BAP: Not listed
  • Immigrant

Caterpillar Food Plants

A wide range of low-growing plants, including bedstraws (Galium sp.), Clovers (Trifolium sp.), Common Nettle (Urtica dioica), Garden Pea (Pisum sativum) and Cabbage (Brassica oleracea).


Can occur almost anywhere, from coastal habitats to inland sites and can be frequent in gardens. Tends to breed in unshaded situations.


  • Countries – England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland
  • Can occur throughout the UK and breeds here (although the early stages cannot survive the winter), with numbers fluctuating from year to year. Flies by day and night. The swift flying adults are frequently observed nectaring at flowers by day and just before dusk. Also readily disturbed from vegetation by day. In some years it can be especially numerous, particularly near the south or east coast.
Silver Y - Ryszard Szczygieł

Silver Y (open wings)

Silver Y - Iain Leach

Silver Y

Silver Y - Iain Leach

Silver Y

Silver Y - Ryszard Szczygieł

Silver Y

Silver Y - Rob Blanken

Silver Y

Silver Y - Koen Thonissen

Silver Y

Silver Y - John Money

Silver Y (feeding)

Silver Y (pupa) - Tapio Kujala

Silver Y (pupa)

Silver Y (caterpillar) - Tapio Kujala

Silver Y (caterpillar)