Moths – Silver Y (Autographa gamma)

Silver Y

A well-known migrant species, this moth can turn up in thousands under the right conditions, especially at coastal migration watch-points. It can occur anywhere in Britain, and in autumn, the breeding population from spring migrants is swelled by further migration.

The adults can be found from spring through till late autumn, and can be seen by day as well as at night, when they regularly visit light.

Key facts

A common migrant moth with a distinctive silvery white Y on the front wing. The remainder of the front wings is brownish, the rear wings are grey at first, but become dark grey towards the end of the wings.

Y-shaped mark on its forewings

Habitat: open countryside and gardens

Widespread across Europe, North Africa and temperate Asia


Forewing dull metallic grey or brown, sometimes purplish tinged, rarely black. Central silver spots fused to form clear Y-mark, rarely broken or enlarge. Found from May until November, feeding by day and night on a wide range of flowering plants

Very active and fast-flying enough to escape the attention of most bird predators.

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