Sometimes referred to as the Blue Underwing, the Clifden Nonpareil is a very large and impressively beautiful and rare moth.

This unmistakable insect is strongly attracted to sugar at dusk and will come to light but can also be seen by day at rest on tree trunks and walls. It has even been recorded flying inland from the sea.

Winter is spent as an egg on the foodplant with the caterpillars hatching the following spring when they can be found through to July, feeding at night. The pupa is made in a silken cocoon that is spun between leaves or among leaf litter.

One of the most familiar of the Pyralidae moth, the Small Magpie is common, easily disturbed by day and often attracted to light.

The caterpillar feeds from a rolled or spun leaf in August and September before spending the winter in a tough silk cocoon in a hollow stem or under the bark. Without further feeding, pupation occurs in the following May in the same cocoon.

Flight Season

Flies from May to September in a single generation but can be recorded as early as February and sometimes as late as November.

The Twin-spotted Quaker is a variable species but the blackish twin spots are usually obvious and the diagnostic feature of this common moth. The male is easily identified by the feathered antennae.

Feeding at night, the caterpillars can be found between April and June, resting during the day amongst leaves when small and hides in bark crevices when larger. Overwinters as a pupa with the adult moth fully formed inside before emerging the following spring.

The adult moth feeds at sallow catkins but can be attracted to light and sugar.

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.

This common species is easily recognised by their round-tipped forewing, with large, rounded, pale-outlined oval and kidney mark and uniformly grey hindwing. Markings are extremely variable but always a shade of brown or grey.

The caterpillars can be found from April to June, living at first in the developing buds before going on to feed on the leaves, fully grown larvae can be found resting on the underside of the leaf. 

The adult moth often comes to light and to sugar in large numbers but adults will also feed on sallow catkins and the flowers of Blackthorn.

Often found inside houses and being continuously brooded can be seen at any time of the year. Accidentally introduced across the world with dried stored goods.

Flight Season

Flies throughout the year in multiple broods.

Size and Family

  • Family – Oecophoridae
  • Small Sized
  • Wingspan Range – 15-21mm

Conservation Status

  • UK BAP: Not listed
  • Common Resident

Caterpillar Food Plants

The caterpillars feed on dried plant and animal debris.

If there are pine trees nearby, you have a chance of seeing this beautiful, orange-red moth which flies from late February until the beginning of summer. Thanks to its colours and patterns, the moth blends in perfectly as it rests among the buds of the pine trees.

Contrary to the general decline of UK moths, the Pine Beauty has done well over recent decades, increasing in numbers as a result of pine trees being planted for timber production and as ornamental plants in gardens.

Adults feed in spring at sallow blossom and are attracted to light.

An abundant species that is variable in colour and sometimes pattern. The pale, or pale-outlined square kidney-mark is a conspicuous diagnostic character and only obscured in particularly dark examples. Fine dark cross-lines are usually visible, sometimes forming a series of small dark dots or dashes.

Winter is spent as a caterpillar where they feed at night from September through to April but only during mild weather. Once fully grown in March, the caterpillars spend up to six weeks in an underground cocoon before pupating.

An unmistakable species that is both common and widespread in Europe but unfortunately only a sporadic migrant to the British Isles with less than 200 records in the last century.

The moth occurs naturally in the Mediterranean and North Africa, and most immigrants are presumed to have originated there, typically arriving with plumes of warm air during the summer or autumn. Attracted to light but also flies during the day when it is easily disturbed.

The Monarch is the largest butterfly seen in the British Isles, and is also one of our rarest migrants. Known for its ability to travel large distances, the migrations in north America are one of the greatest natural phenomena in the world - where the adult butterflies can migrate from as far north as Canada to the overwintering grounds in Mexico, the west coast of California and Florida.

First recorded in the UK in 1876.

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