Wingspan 18-23 mm.
This species lives in open habitat on dry soils on old dunes, limestone and chalk grassland, waste ground, embankments etc. in England and Wales as far north as Cumbria and Durham, and in Wicklow, Ireland (J. Langmaid, in litt.).
Fairly distinctive with its yellowish ground colour and darker banding, it is one of the easier species to identify in its group. The usual flight period is between June and August.
The larva feeds and lives in the rootstock of ribwort plantain (Plantago lanceolata) and other plantain species.
Larva: (description Ian F. Smith)
Foodplant: August - April. An extensive cavity is eaten out of the rootstock of Plantago lanceolata or other Plantago sp., causing the central, or all, leaves to wilt in autumn, and stunting growth in spring. Much frass is deposited in the cavity. A white, or greenish white, silk hibernaculum is spun by the larva in late August / early September, or sometimes later. It becomes grey with time. Plants in open habitat on dry soil; old dunes, limestone or chalk grassland, embankments etc. are favoured, and the larvae can be locally common.
Length: 9 mm in September described.
Head: Burnt ochre (orange-brown). Posterior of epicranial sphere thinly edged reddish brown. Stemmata black, but enclosed stemmatal area concolorous with head. Mouth parts chestnut brown.
Prothoracic shield: Transparent tinted light brown, clearly showing head and body below. Marked blackish grey postero-laterally. Divided by an obscure thin white medial line.
Thoracic legs: Blackish grey, except coxa concolorous with body.
Body: Dull white, shagreened, translucent. Orange viscera visible in thorax and segments A1-A3. Transparent contractile dorsal vessel shows viscera as faintly dull orange dorsal line.
Spiracles: Black centre. Burnt ochre peritreme with grey perimeter.
Setae: Translucent, tinted burnt ochre basally.
Anal plate: Light brown, translucent. Appears grey when frass in anal segment.
Prolegs: Translucent, concolorous with body. Burnt ochre crochets.