This species has a wingspan of 35–45 mm, the female usually noticeably larger than the male. All parts of the adults are pure white, apart from a bright yellow tip to the abdomen (larger in the female) and a small black or brown tornal mark on the forewing of the male. It flies at night in July and August  and is attracted to light, especially the males.
The larva is black with red and yellow stripes and is very hairy. It usually feeds on trees and shrubs such as alder, apple, birch, blackcurrant, blackthorn, cherry, chestnut, hawthorn, oak, rowan and sallow. It has also been recorded on monkshood, which is a herbaceous plant. This species overwinters as a larva.
- 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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