Common Swift - Hepialus lupulinus

Phylum: Arthropoda - Class: Insecta - Order: Lepidoptera - Family: Hepialidae

Common Swift Moth, Hepialis lupulinus

Five of the approximately 500 species of the Hepialidae moths (Swift moths) occur in Great Britain and Ireland.

The forewings of the Common Swift Moth are very variable in colour and markings making this, the most common of the species of Swift Moths to occur in Britain and Ireland, rather difficult to identify.They fly mainly at dusk, and can easily be caught in light traps.

They are not at all particular in their choice of habitat occuring in both urban and rural locations from gardens, roadside verges to fens and woodlands.

The forewing of the Common Swift ranges between 11 and 16mm (Male) and 15 and 20mm (Female)


In Britain and Ireland this resident moth is found throughout although more common in the south and east than in the north. It is more localised in Scotland and Ireland.


The Common Swift moth is shortlived as its shortened proboscis prevents it from being able to feed. It over-winters once in its larval form and pupates below ground.

The larval foodplants of the Common Swift include the roots many grass species as well other cultivated and agricultural plants. It can do serious damage to both garden plants and agricultural crops.

Picture: Rob Petley-Jones

Studying butterflies and moths...

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