The forewings are usually pale grey, distinctively marked with a row of three angular black marks. The ground colour, however, is quite variable with pinkish or reddish forms occurring fairly frequently. In the north of Scotland, including Orkney and Shetland, an almost black form occurs (some authorities regard this as a subspecies, E. g. edda). The hindwings of the typical forms are white, grey in the darker forms. The wingspan is 32–38 mm. This species flies from the latter half of August to the first half of September  and is attracted to light and heather flowers.
The larva feeds on a range of plants: It has been recorded on bedstraws, docks, hawkweeds, heather, lettuce, plantains and willows as well as grasses such as Poa. This species overwinters as a very small larva.
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- Chinery, Michael Collins Guide to the Insects of Britain and Western Europe 1986 (Reprinted 1991)
- Skinner, Bernard Colour Identification Guide to Moths of the British Isles 1984
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