This striking moth rests with wings open and half-raised and forewings slightly curled. Can be distinguished from the similar Lunar Thorn by a dark central spot towards the outer edge of the hindwing upperside. The central silver crescent on the forewing is also larger on the Purple Thorn. Second generation moths are typically smaller and paler.

The caterpillars can be found from late May to early July and again in from August to September in southern England.Overwinters as a pupa, just below ground.

The adult moths are rarely seen apart from when attracted to light.

The typical form of this common species has a distinct black mark on the forewing that is unique among spring-flying moths, but in northern parts, this mark may be the same as the ground colour, or paler.

This moth spends the winter as a pupa in an underground cocoon, with the adult fully formed inside. The caterpillars can be found between April and July, feeding mainly at night on the buds and then the leaves of their foodplant.

Adults fly late in the night, even in cold conditions and can be seen feeding at sallow blossom, also regularly attracted to light and sugar.

The male of this common species has a brownish forewing that is quite variable but can be distinguished by a row of black dots along the edge of both fore- and hindwing. The similar looking Mottled Umber lacks these markings and are less conspicuous in the Scarce Umber.

Caterpillars can be found between April and mid-June. Overwinters as a pupa underground

Males come to light and sometimes in large numbers while the female can be found by day resting on tree-trunks.

A common resident but rarer further north and into Scotland. Forewing is uniformly white with black dots. Very similar in appearance to closely related Ermines and care must be taken with identification.

Flight Season

Flies at night from late June to early September in a single generation.

A common resident. Forewing is two-toned grey and white, or uniformly grey, with black dots. Very similar in appearance to closely related Ermines and care must be taken with identification.

Can be seen in large numbers both as a caterpillar and adult moth, often coming to light. Also seen in the daytime at rest on the foodplant.

Flight Season

Flies at night from June to August in a single generation.

A common resident from the south midlands northwards but widely considered an immigrant in the south. Forewing is white with black dots which are considerably more numerous than in related species.

Can be seen in large numbers both as a caterpillar and adult moth, often coming to light.

Flight Season

Flies at night from June to September in a single brood.

Distinguished from similar species by pale basal area of the forewing, and central crescent mark, which is small and faint. The Oak Processionary flies at night and can be found at light. The male is migratory but the female is much more sedentary.

Overwinters as an egg which can be found in batches on twigs. The caterpillars hatch in April and can be found until late June in communal silk nests, usually quite high up, on or often underneath a major branch, but sometimes lower down.

Flight Season

Flies from late July through to mid-September in one generation.

Often found inside houses, this Asian species was introduced into Europe and beyond during the 1840's but can now be seen throughout the British Isles.

Adults vary greatly in size.

Flight Season

Flies throughout the year in multiple broods but most often encountered during the summer months. Outdoors the species cannot survive hard frosts.

Size and Family

When at rest the Red Sword-grass is brilliantly camouflaged as a bit of wood. Indeed its scientific name Xylena vetusta means ‘old wood’. It is a widespread species in northern and western parts of the UK, but is capable of long-distance flights so can turn up anywhere.

Red Sword-grass moths hibernate through the winter, starting to emerge in March. The moths visit early blossom such as sallow to drink nectar as well as feeding on the sap of birches.

This distinctive micro-moth lives in oak trees and is regularly seen in gardens as well as in woodland.

Typically a lovely blue-green colour, the detail of the moth’s appearance is very variable – some individuals have strongly defined black markings on the wings while others are almost plain, and the wings sometimes have a rough texture caused by tiny tufts of scales.

Despite its diminutive size, this moth hibernates as an adult and emerges from late winter onwards, when it can be attracted to moth-traps and outside lights.

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