This is a distinctive and attractive species, its grey-brown forewings marked with bold buff-orange “arches." The hindwings are grey with white margins. The wingspan is 40–45 mm. It flies from June to August  and is attracted to light and sugar.
The larva is orange-brown with a prominent white spot on each side of the head and feeds on bramble, hawthorn and hazel. The species overwinters as a pupa.
^The flight season refers to the British Isles. This may vary in other parts of the range.