The males have triangular grey-brown forewings with dark-edged jagged crossbands which are distinctively held overlapping at rest. The females are completely wingless with a barrel-shaped body and a tuft of hairs on the end of the abdomen. The adult males flay after dark and are attracted to light.

The light green caterpillars can be found from late April to June overwintering as pupae in a fragile cocoon under the ground.

The antennae also have a whitish band near the tips and there is a small yellowish-white spot or dash at the rear of the thorax.

The caterpillars spend two years feeding near the base of a tree trunk or in the roots, overwintering as larvae.

Size and Family

  • Family – Clearwing moths (Sesiidae)
  • Small Sized
  • Wingspan Range – 24-28mm

Conservation status

  • UK BAP: Not listed
  • Nationally Scarce B

Caterpillar Food Plants

Alder (Alnus glutinosa) and birches.

At rest the wings are held over the body like a tent. The triangular-shaped forewing has a curved leading edge.

The adults mainly fly at night and are attracted to light, usually only on warm nights. The caterpillars can be found from August to the following May overwintering as fully grown larvae in gall-like cocoons on a leaf or twig.

Identified by three or sometimes four narrow and yellowish-white bands on the abdomen and vertical stripes on the thorax with the absence of and orange scales on the forewings.

The adults can sometimes be seen visiting flowers of Thrift and Thyme. The caterpillars feed inside the roots and stems of the foodplant from August to the following May, overwintering as part-grown larvae.

The wings are a dull green colour with a gold leading forewing edge and two fairly straight, white cross-lines. Similar to Little Emerald but a stronger green in colour.

The adults fly at night from dusk and are attracted to light. The caterpillars can be found from July to August before overwintering as pupae suspended by threads from the foodplant or in leaf litter.

The wings are rounded with two white cross-lines on the forewings and a single cross-line on the hindwing. They are a rich blue-green colour fading to white with age.

The adults fly at night from dusk and are attracted to light. The caterpillars can be found from July or August to the following June overwintering as larvae. They pupate in a cocoon suspended by threads from the foodplant.

The males have six yellow bands but the females have only five, both with orange scales on the tip and along the central bar of the forewings and largely yellow legs.

The adults can sometimes be found using sweep nets. The caterpillars feed inside the roots of the foodplant from July to the following May, overwintering as larvae.

An unmistakable moth with an irregularly scalloped edge to the forewing. At rest the wings are folded like a tent over the body resembling a dried leaf. There are two dark parallel cross-lines and a small dark dot between them. The females are more yellow-orange in colour whereas the males are more grey-brown.

The adults fly at night and are attracted to light. The larvae can be seen from June to July and August to September before overwintering as pupae in a folded leaf from the foodplant, dropping to the ground with the leaves as they are shed before winter.

Similar in size and appearance to the Currant Clearwing but missing the yellow collar or thorax markings of the Currant Clearwing.

The caterpillars spend two years feeding in thin stems of the willow foodplant causing a pear-shaped gall overwintering as larvae.

The only British emerald moth which is not green in colour, the wings are beige or brown with subtle reddish freckling.

The adults fly at night and area attracted to light. At rest they hang from grass stems and can be disturbed from vegetation during the day. The caterpillars can be found from August to late the following May overwintering as small larvae on the foodplant near the ground.

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