Grey Dagger Noctuidae

Acronicta psi (Linnaeus, 1758)

Description: Wingspan 34-45 mm. Forewing colour is variable from pale to dark grey. The antemedian and post median lines are darker than ground colour. There is a black basal streak which is clearly forked at the apex. There are two dagger-like tornal marks on the forewings and the subterminal line is incomplete and not clearly defined. The stigmata are paler and outlined in black at the distal margin. Hind wings pale fuscous with darker veining.

Key Identification Features:

Sets:  male upperside

Flight Period: Mid-May to early August.

Status: Widespread throughout all counties but more frequent in Down and Armagh.

Ecology: An early summer species found mainly in woodland and a variety of other habitats including some suburban gardens. Adults appear at light frequently, but in small numbers. The colourful larvae are easily found throughout their development. They feed from July to early October on many species of trees and shrubs including birch Betula spp., oak Quercus spp., elm Ulmus spp., Hawthorn Crataegus monogyna, Blackthorn Prunus spinosa. It overwinters as a pupa.

World Distribution: Throughout western Europe from southern Spain to Finland.

Bradley & Fletcher number: 2284 Agassiz number: 73.038

Additional information:

UK Moths account


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