Wiltshire and Swindon Biological Records Centre

Beautiful Golden Y - Autographa pulchrina

Flying (mostly at night) in June and July, this is a widely distributed species that is closely related to the ubiquitous Silver Y moth.

Beautiful Golden Y, WWT/ Tony Coultiss



The Beautiful Golden Y is a widespread moth mainly a night flying moth that can occasionally be seen during the day as it rests, often hanging upside down, in low vegetation in a variety of habitats ranging from woodlands to grassland and vegetation around watercourses including rivers and lakes.


During June and July (sometimes into early August) the Beautiful Golden Y is on the wing and is identifiable by three key features; gamma mark on the forewings, purplish and brown appearance of the forewings and lunar discal spot on the paler hindwings. They have a wingspan of 35-40mm feeding on a variety of woodland and garden flowers. The caterpillar is green with a white stripe along the back and a pale yellow stripe down each side.


Adults fly mainly at dusk and are attracted to light and this is when they are often seen. Caterpillars hatch in August and feed on a variety of low growing plants including Honeysuckle, Dead Nettle and Stinging Nettle. It over winters as larva whilst still quite small and starts feeding again in the following spring.