Last modified: July 1, 2022, 9:24 a.m.
A fairly common species throughout Belgium.
In this species, having a wingspan of 20–40 mm, the markings of the male's forewings vary in their extent and intensity from dark brown over grey or pale whitish. The markings may have obvious white patches on the forewings although also completely uniformly coloured specimens occur. The female is usually less strongly marked but is mostly somewhat larger than the males. The antennae are strikingly short and the moths lack functioning mouth parts so they cannot feed.
The eggs are oval-shaped and dark brown.
The caterpillar is dirty yellowish white with a number of scattered implanted dark coloured hairs. The head is brown and the lateral sides carry distinctive blackish stigmata.
Females of this species scatter their eggs over plants as they fly over them in a suitable biotope. The larva feeds on the roots of Gramineae and other wild and cultivated herbaceous plants sometimes causing considerable damage in agriculture or horticulture. The species hibernates once or twice as a larva and pupates in the ground. The male moths are already active in early afternoon and at dusk searching for females hidden in the lower vegetation. Later on, mostly in the first hour after dusk, both sexes come to light.
The adults fly from early May till the end of June.
Open grassland, gardens, moorland, heathland, ...