A common moth in England but more local further north. Rests with wings tightly rolled, resembling a small cross. Usually a greyish-white to brown in colour. Each pair of spurs on the hind legs has one spur longer than the other.

Caterpillars feed in two overlapping generations from late May to September.

The adult moth is often seen on fence posts, walls and even indoors where they are attracted to light. Can also be found at Ivy blossom, ripe blackberries and, in spring, at sallow blossom.

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.

An Asian species, first recorded in the British Isles from Kent in 2007, where it was attracted to light. Since then sightings have increased greatly and is now encountered frequently across the south and even central London.

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.

This species is very similar to the more common Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing although it usually has a broader black border on the upperside of the forewing that extends along the leading edge.  It has only been regarded as a distinct species since 1991.

Very little is known about their life-cycle in the UK.

Flight Times

It flies from July to September

Size and Family

  • Family – Darts, yellow underwings, clays and allies (Noctuinae)

  • Small sized

This small, sandy-coloured moth is usually found in damp alder carr woodland, alder being the foodplant of the caterpillar. The undersides of the wings have faint brown bands and a cream/brown chequered margin. They usually rest with their wings closed.

Larvae are from late June to August. They then pupate on the ground where they overwinter.

Flight Times

It has one generation from late May to early August. The adults fly from dusk but can be seen during the day if disturbed from the foodplant.

Also known as the Webbing Clothes Moth, this small pale golden-brown moth has reddish hairs on its head and usually lives indoors. As indicated by its name, its larvae will eat clothes or carpets made of wool or other natural materials but you can deter them from households.

This is a fluffy white moth found in open habitats around southern and eastern Britain. When disturbed, it often displays the brown tip of its abdomen which easily distinguishes it from the similar yellow-tail moth.

The caterpillars of the brown-tail moth have hairs which are an irritant to human skin so they should not be handled.

This is one of the few moth species that can damage clothing and carpets but you can deter them from households. The adult moth is a pale silvery grey-brown with dark spots, and approximately 7mm long. The larva makes a portable case for itself out of wool and other fibres.

The Winter Moth is one of the few moth species that is active in its adult stage over the winter months, and it is able to cope with freezing temperatures.  The males and females look very different since the females only have short stubby wings and cannot fly.  To attract a mate, the female will crawl up a tree trunk and give off pheromones.  Great tits and blue tits feed their young on Winter Moth caterpillars and will time their breeding to coincide with the moth’s lifecycle.

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