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 resting position of the Early Thorn distinguishes it from all other British thorns, with wings held back and close together, similar to a butterfly. The summer generation is smaller and paler, typically with larger tawny orange patches on the underside. Darker forms are encountered in the north.

The caterpillar can be found between May and June and again from August to early October in the south but in the north, where there is only one generation, caterpillars can be found between June and August. Overwinters as a pupa, spun between leaves or plant debris, 

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.

This stripy moth that can be found in a variety of colour forms, is widespread and common in most parts of the UK and is on the wing from March until May.

Dog rose and other wild roses are the foodplants for caterpillars of this moth, although they are unobtrusive and won’t cause any noticeable damage, so the species can be found in gardens, hedgerows and woodland.

Flight Season

There is one generation that flies from March through to late May.

An unmistakable moth in the early spring, identifiable by the two broad brown bands across the forewing which vary in width and are edged with black. There is a darker form where the banding is still present but less conspicuous. Ground colour varies from white to greenish grey.

Male and female are similar but the female is often whiter and the male has feathered antennae.

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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