Square-spot Rustic Noctuidae

Xestia xanthographa (Denis & Schiff., 1775)

Description: Wingspan 30-40 mm. Forewings normally reddish brown but this can vary, with some individuals being noticeably lighter or darker in colour. There are two square-shaped marks on the forewing, one lighter, the other darker. The postmedian line is broken into a series of small dots. Hindwings are pale whitish brown with dark veining and a small discal spot which is normally quite faint.

Key Identification Features:

Sets:  male upperside

Flight Period: Mid July to the end of September. Adults have been occasionally recorded in June and early October.

Status: Common and widespread throughout all counties and on Rathlin Island.

Ecology: Found in a wide variety of habitats. Adults come frequently to light and also visit the flowers of Ragwort Senecio jacobaea, Buddleia Buddleja davidii and Heather Calluna vulgaris. The larvae feed from September to April of the following year on various grasses and other low-growing herbaceous plants.

World Distribution: Throughout western Europe as far north as Finland.

Bradley & Fletcher number: 2134 Agassiz number: 73.357

Additional information:

UK Moths account


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