The larvae of both species are superficially similar, the Mullein having black spotting between each segment, whereas Striped Lychnis larvae generally have a clear band of pale green between each segment. Striped Lychnis feeds from July to mid-September, whereas that of the Mullein feeds from late May to July.

The larva usually feeds on the flowers and can readily be found by day. Overwinters as a pupa, on or just below the ground surface.

Size

  • Medium Sized 
  • Wing Span Range (male to female) - 42-47mm

Conservation status

  • UK BAP: Priority Species
  • Nationally Scarce

Caterpillar Food Plants

Dark Mullein (Verbascum nigrum), but has been reported on White Mullein (V. lychnitis) and ornamental mulleins in gardens

Habitat

Roadside verges, embankments, field margins, rough downland, and also woodland rides and clearings. Usually in un-shaded situations.

Distribution

  • Countries – England
  • Local in southern England, being found in West Sussex, Hampshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. Also once recently in Wiltshire. Formerly found in some other parts of southern England.
  • Distribution Trend Since 1970s = Britain: Declining
Striped Lychnis - Ilia Ustyantsev

Striped Lychnis

Striped Lychnis - Ilia Ustyantsev

Striped Lychnis

Striped Lychnis (caterpillar) - Ilia Ustyantsev

Striped Lychnis (caterpillar)

Striped Lychnis (caterpillar) - Ilia Ustyantsev

Striped Lychnis (caterpillar)