PLEASE NOTE: UKmoths is relaunching with a new design today, 29th August 2015. Please be patient while the new pages migrate over. Thanks, Ian Kimber.
UKMoths: your guide to the moths of Great Britain and Ireland
Moth name search:

Found an interesting looking moth or caterpillar and don't know where to start?

I receive quite a number of emails from people who have, but who find searching through the website rather daunting and difficult. I hope this page will help.

Alternatively, try the new keyword search (although this doesn't yet contain caterpillars).

Listed below in order of frequency are the most popular ID requests I've had since starting this website. This should give you a starting point at least.

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Update July 2013 - UKMoths is now on Facebook:

UKMoths now has a Facebook page, which I'm hoping will help create a community to help people identify their moths. If you have a moth you can't figure out, and you have a Facebook account, post a picture on there and with a bit of luck, we'll be able to reach a conclusion!

Poplar Hawk-mothNo.1 Poplar Hawk-moth

This should be called the "Popular Hawk-moth"! - it's the most frequently requested identification I get. Large, peculiarly shaped and not easily disturbed.

Lime Hawk-mothNo.2 Lime Hawk-moth

Often described as camouflaged - green and brown, or sometimes just shades of brown, often found in suburban areas. Around 2 or 3 inches wingspan.

Privet Hawk-mothNo.3 Privet Hawk-moth

Black and greyish-buff, with a 4 or 5 inch wingspan and 'concorde' shape at rest. Body with pink and black stripes.

Angle ShadesNo.4 Angle Shades

About 1.5 inches long, has unusual 'crumpled' or folded wings at rest, evolved to provide excellent camouflage amongst dried leaves. Can be found at any time of year.

Elephant Hawk-mothNo.5 Elephant Hawk-moth

A wonderful pink and green species, with streamlined appearance and around 2.5 inches wingspan. Legs and antennae have whitish appearance.

Eyed Hawk-mothNo.6 Eyed Hawk-moth

Normally well-camouflaged with subtle darker and lighter shades of brown, it rests in a strange position with hindwings held slightly forward. Has intense blue and pink eyes on hindwings, but these are not normally visible.

Hummingbird Hawk-mothNo.7 Hummingbird Hawk-moth

Looks like a hummingbird! - flies in the daytime and hovers in front of flowers, extending its proboscis to drink nectar. The orange-brown hindwings and black and white tail can be seen as it hovers.

Elephant Hawk-moth CaterpillarNo.8 Elephant Hawk-moth Caterpillar

With a fanciful resemblance to an elephant's trunk, and up to 3 inches long, this caterpillar is velvety to the touch and has false 'eyes' which it displays when alarmed.

Swallow-tailed MothNo.9 Swallow-tailed Moth

About 2 inches across the wings, with delicate yellowish or creamy paper-like appearance. Has distinct 'tails' on the hindwings with darker spots at the base. Once described as a 'Flying post-it note'! Normally only flying in mid to late July.

CinnabarNo.10 Cinnabar

A distinctive red and black species, normally nocturnal but easily flushed in the daytime.Can be confused with the Burnet moths, which are strictly day-flyers, preferring sunshine.

Pale Tussock caterpillarNo.11 Pale Tussock caterpillar

A very distinctive yellow hairy caterpillar, with four noticeable yellow tuftsalong the back and a brownish one extending from the rear end.

Puss MothNo.12 Puss Moth

A very distinctive white fluffy species; quite large, reaching about 2 inches from head to tail, with delicate black markings. Docile if found during the day.

Garden TigerNo.13 Garden Tiger

One of the most colourful of our moths, with chocolate brown forewings netted with a cream pattern, and orange-red hindwings with dark blue spots.

<I>Emmelina monodactyla</I>No.14 Emmelina monodactyla

A strange moth, which rests in a T-shape, with the wings rolled tightly around. About 1 inch in wingspan, it also has long spindly legs and is generally pale buff in colour.

Common SwiftNo.15 Common Swift

A smallish, about 1 inch long brown moth with whiter markings. It is attracted to light and may come to your kitchen window in May or June. Has a very fast, whirring flight.

Feathered ThornNo.16 Feathered Thorn

Rich red-brown, resting in a distinctive triangular fashion. The antennae can look very white, but are sometimes held hidden beneath the wings. A late autumn species, usually in October and November.

Convolvulus Hawk-mothNo.17 Convolvulus Hawk-moth

A large grey moth, wingspan about 4 inches. Quite a rare immigrant species, which can turn up anywhere in autumn, though more likely near the coast.

Scalloped OakNo.18 Scalloped Oak

About an inch across the wings, this two-tone buff moth appears in July and August. There is a darker band across the centre of the wings containing a brown spot.

Mullein caterpillarNo.19 Mullein caterpillar

A yellow, black and white caterpillar which is sometimes found in gardens, as it has a tendency to feed on Buddleia in addition to its normal foodplants.

Lesser Swallow ProminentNo.20 Lesser Swallow Prominent

A species which occurs in the spring as well as early autumn, this moth has a subtlecombination of chocolate brown and white colours, but is very similar to the Swallow Prominent

Not one of these? try the keyword search

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