Beautiful Golden Y Noctuidae

Autographa pulchrina (Haworth, 1809)

Description: Wingspan 36-44 mm. Forewings purplish brown, paler towards the apex. Antemedian line golden edged with purple; postmedian line faint, running parallel to the costa. The reniform stigmata are purplish brown and there is a small pale gamma mark in the median area of the forewing, which is split into two. Hindwings pale fuscous with a lunar discal spot.

Similar Species: Plain Golden Y which is less colourful and lacks any markings around the costal area of the forewing.

Key Identification Features:

Sets:  male upperside

Flight Period: Mid-May to early August.

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

Ecology: The most attractive of the Y moths found in a variety of habitats including woodland, gardens and grassy bank side vegetation around rivers and lakes. Adults come frequently to light and also visit flowers. Individuals are occasionally found by day, at rest, often upside down, low down among ground vegetation. The larvae feed on Honeysuckle Lonicera periclymenum and probably other low-growing herbaceous plants from August to May. It overwinters as a larva.

World Distribution: Eurasiatic; widespread in Europe from posy brown with darker veining Portugal as far north as Fennoscandia.

Bradley & Fletcher number: 2442 Agassiz number: 73.016

Additional information:

UK Moths account


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