Orange Swift - Hepialus sylvina

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

Orange Swift Moth

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

It is the bright colour of the male Orange Swift Moth that makes it easier to identify from the Common Swift Moth, the female being much duller in colour and, therefore, very similar in appearance to the Common Swift. Both male and female Orange Swift moths are generally larger than the equivalent Common Swift moths. They fly mainly at dusk in June and July, 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 Orange Swift ranges between 12 and 18mm (Male) and 15 and 26mm (Female)


In Britain and Ireland this resident moth is found throughout but is more common in lowland habitats


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

The larval foodplants of the Orange Swift include the roots of cultivated herbaceous species along with Bracken, Dock and Dandelion.

Picture: Rob Petley-Jones

Studying butterflies and moths...

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