The forewings of this species are reddish brown with a black streak interrupted by white stigmata and a creamy-yellow streak along the costa which gives the species its common name. The hindwings are pure white.
Technical Description and variation
- See glossary for terms used
The wingspan is 28–34 mm. Forewing red-brown suffused with purple; costal streak broadly cream-colour to outer line, sometimes red speckled; cell and a basal streak below median vein blackish or deep red;orbicular and reniform stigmata with bright pale rings and grey centres, the latter followed by a small black blotch; lines rarely visible; hindwing whitish; patagia red-brown; dorsum greyish fuscous, sometimes with basal half cream-coloured, sometimes wholly cream-coloured.ab. unimacula Stgr. [now ssp.] from Spain has the orbicular stigma obsolete; — in ab. anderssoni Lampa from Scandinavia the forewing is blackish purple; in ab. glaucimacula Graes. from Amurland the stigmata are smaller, as in leucogaster Frr.[now full species] and pearl grey in colour; the outer line of forewing well-marked and indicated on hindwing also by vein-dots; patagia black-brown; — ab. ignota uncertainly ranked Swinh., described in the first instance from Ceylon, has the cell red like the rest of wing; European examples of this form are generally entirety pale red, with the costal streak red-speckled and usually females..
Larva yellow-brown, greener laterally; dorsal and subdorsal lines reddish; spiracular line broadly yellowish. The larva, grey with a yellow stripe along each side, feeds on a range of plants (see list below). This species overwinters as a pupa.
Recorded food plants
- Arachis - Peanut
- Beta - Beet
- Galium - Bedstraw
- Plantago - Plantain
- Salix - Willow
- Senecio - Groundsel
- Trifolium - Clover
See Robinson, G. S et al.
- O. p. plecta - Europe except Iberian Peninsula
- O. p. unimacula - Iberian Peninsula
- Seitz, A. Ed., 1914 Die Großschmetterlinge der Erde, Verlag Alfred Kernen, Stuttgart Band 3: Abt. 1, Die Großschmetterlinge des palaearktischen Faunengebietes, Die palaearktischen eulenartigen Nachtfalter, 1914
- The flight season refers to the British Isles. This may vary in other parts of the range.
- "Robinson, G. S., P. R. Ackery, I. J. Kitching, G. W. Beccaloni & L. M. Hernández, 2010. HOSTS - A Database of the World's Lepidopteran Hostplants. Natural History Museum, London.".
- 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