The forewings of this species share the pale buffish ground colour and prominent venation of other "wainscots" but has much stronger dark markings than most of its relatives, including a thick black basal streak which gives it its common name. The hindwings are dingy grey or brown with lighter fringes. The wingspan is 35–42 mm. This species flies at night in June and July  and is attracted to light and sugar.
- 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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