Species Account

Select species and region:



Summary Data

Season (Adult / Immature):

National Status: Common

Local Status: Scarce and thinly distributed or restricted resident.

Local Record: Grade 3   See here for explanation

Flight time: Jul-Aug.

Forewing: 15-19mm.

Foodplant: Sallows, Willows.

IMPORTANT - Please note that the maps and accounts are provisional, subject to change and further update.  The whole dataset still needs to go through the final verification process and it is likely that a very small number of records will not satisfy the present requirements and there are other records that have not been formally submitted.  The information is for guidance only.

Record breakdown:

Year first recorded198619891986
Year last recorded201020062010
Number of records30264
Number of individuals1824372
Unique positions24252
Unique locations23250
Adult records6012
Immature records10224

For the region, we have a total of 64 records from 50 sites. Earliest record on file is in 1986.


0371 Lunar Hornet Moth 02
© Jack Oughton
0371 Lunar Hornet Moth 01
© Dave Foot

Species Account

For further information refer UK Moths.

Davey, P., 2009: A predominantly south of England species, the larva feeding for two years low down within the trunks and in the upper roots of mature sallow species (Salix spp.). The young larvae feed beneath the bark just below ground level, but later bore deeper into the host trunk creating a tunnel of up to 8mm diameter some 50mm above ground level. The presence of a colony is occasionally revealed by damage to the trunks caused by woodpeckers searching for larvae and pupae. The moth emerges between late June and late July and may be observed on a host trunk until noon, or later in overcast weather. In Dorset, the moth is widespread and locally frequent, and larvae have been found within sallow trees growing in most situations. Two large swathes of sallow-birch woodland removed in heathland restoration work on Studland Heath during January in 2003 revealed twenty tunnelled stumps from a total of two hundred stumps. The tunnelled stumps were located in distinct groups indicating the colonial nature of the species and illustrating perhaps the tendency to re-occupy a host tree year after year. A further example of a favoured tree is evidenced by the observation of up to nine adults on a single sallow trunk in a garden at Preston during the second and third weeks of July 2002 by M Forster.

See background to species accounts.  Index of Vernacular names - Search - Random Species