This rather small moth is usually very distinctively marked with two broad purple bars crossing the forewings, one in the middle and one down the edge. The background colour is olive-brown, sometimes the purple coloured bars are replaced by darker brown.

It flies very actively by day flitting from flower to flower in sunshine, but sometimes also flies at night.

Size and Family

  • Family – Ophiderines
  • Small Sized 

Conservation status

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

Caterpillar Food Plants

Common Milkwort, Heath Milkwort and Lousewort.


Favours flowery situations on calcareous downland, heathland, moorland, woodland rides and coastal sand dunes wherever the foodplants occur.


  • Countries – England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland
  • Fairly well distributed throughout the England and Wales, becoming less frequent in the north and rare in the Channel Islands.
Small Purple-barred - Patrick Clement

Small Purple-barred

Small Purple-barred - Garry Barlow

Small Purple-barred

Small Purple-barred - Public Domain

Small Purple-barred

Small Purple-barred - oldbilluk

Small Purple-barred

Small Purple-barred by Martin Warren

Small Purple-barred

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