Buff Ermine Arctiidae

Spilosoma lutea (Hufnagel, 1766)

Description: Wingspan 34-42mm. The adults markings and colouring are variable in extent and intensity. In some individuals the markings may be absent. Females are generally paler than males but otherwise similar in appearance. of colour and markings on wings. The forewings are buff yellow with small black markings, which vary in number and intensity of dotting. Head and thorax buff and rather hairy. Hindwings pale buff with discal spot. Abdomen yellow with black dorsal bars.

Key Identification Features:

Sets:  male upperside

Flight Period: From mid-May until the end of July, occasionally a little later in some years.

Status: Common and widely distributed across all counties and on Rathlin Island.

Ecology: A frequently recorded species from a wide range of habitats including gardens. Adults are attracted to light and appear frequently in moderate numbers in traps. The larvae feed during August and September on a variety of herbaceous and woody plants. It overwinters as a pupa.

World Distribution: Across the Palaearctic region.

Bradley & Fletcher number: 2061 Agassiz number: 72.019

Additional information:

UK Moths account


 Thompson, R. S. & Nelson, B., 2003 (Oct 2). [In] The Butterflies and Moths of Northern Ireland