Mythimna pallens

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Common wainscot
Mythimna pallens1.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Noctuidae
Genus: Mythimna
Species: M. pallens
Binomial name
Mythimna pallens
(Linnaeus, 1758)

Mythimna pallens, the common wainscot, is a moth of the family Noctuidae distributed throughout the Palearctic ecozone from Ireland in the west, through Europe (all of Russia) to Central Asia and Amur to the Kuriles in the east.

As with other "wainscots", this species has buffish-yellow forewings with prominent venation. The common wainscot, as the specific name suggests, is very pale, lacking the darker markings shown by most of its relatives. The hindwings are pure white.

Technical description and variation[edit]

The wingspan is 32–40 mm. Forewing yellowish ochreous, often with a rufous tinge; veins pale, defined by grey-brown streaks, and with similar streaks in the intervals; dark spots on veins 2 and 5 beyond middle; hindwing white, grey at centre, the veins dark; — ab. ectypa Hbn. is the form in which the red tints are strongest; in arcuata Stph. the hindwing shows a complete row of dark dots on the veins.[1]


One or two broods are produced each year with adults on the wing at any time from June to October.[1] The moth flies at night and is attracted to light, sugar and various flowers.

The larva is yellowish or reddish with grey irroration; dorsal line white, with dark edges; spiracles black, lying in a yellowish white lateral stripe, which is edged with blackish. It feeds on various grasses including Deschampsia, Festuca, Leymus, Lolium and Phalaris.[2] The species overwinters as a small larva.

  1. ^ The flight season refers to the British Isles. This may vary in other parts of the range.


  1. ^ 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
  2. ^ "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

External links[edit]