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.