Common Wainscot Noctuidae

Mythimna pallens (Linnaeus, 1758)

Description: Wingspan 32-40 mm. Forewings are pale straw in colour and narrower than the Smoky Wainscot M. impura. The reniform stigma is reduced to a small black dot and postmedian line replaced by two small black dots. The fringe is ochreous in colour. Hindwings are white with darker veining and similarly-coloured fringe. Females are slightly darker.

Similar Species: Smoky Wainscot, which has a darker basal streak and hindwing.

Key Identification Features:

Sets:  male upperside

Flight Period: Late June to mid-August.

Status: Widely distributed, but more commonly found in the eastern counties. It has been recorded from Rathlin Island, Co. Antrim. In the west it is more local.

Ecology: A species normally associated with grassland habitats. Adults appear frequently at light and will also visit flowers. The larvae are nocturnal hiding among grassy tussocks during the day and feeding from September until May on Cock's-foot Dactylis glomerata, common couch and various other grasses. It overwinters as a larva.

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

Bradley & Fletcher number: 2199 Agassiz number: 73.291

Additional information:

UK Moths account


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