On the wing this species is most likely to be confused with species of Pyrausta, although the black hindwing of the Small Yellow Underwing is traversed by a broad yellow band. Often rests with its hindwings exposed.  Flies actively in sunshine visiting flowers such as dandelion and buttercup.

Size and Family

  • Family – Clovers, Straws and allies (Heliothines)
  • Small Sized 

Conservation status

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

Particular Caterpillar Food Plants

Seed capsules of Common Mouse-ear and Field Mouse-ear.


  • Countries – England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland
  • Thinly distributed but found widely over much of England, Wales, south-east Scotland and south-west Ireland. Easily overlooked because of its small size.


Flower-rich grassland, including meadows, downland, sea-cliffs, roadside verges and grassy embankments.

Small Yellow Underwing by Helen Bantock

Small Yellow Underwing

Similar species