The wingspan is 12–26 mm. (1st generation); the next generation is typically much smaller and reaches no more than 18 mm. The forewing leading edge (costa) forms an acute angle with the outer edge forming a sharp point. The hindwings also come to a sharp angle in the middle of the outer edge (a "tail"). The pattern and colouring are variable. The wings are reddish, yellowish or orange to light brown. The lines and marginal line are almost always clear, but fine. The median crossline is clearly developed and inclined slightly diagonally to the inner and outer cross line. It is slightly curved and very weakly wavy and often accompanied by a distal facing shadow. The interior and exterior cross lines are slightly wavy (more clearly than the median line). The hind wings have the pattern, however they often lack the inner cross line. The outer cross line shows a pointed bulge outwards, which follows the "tail" of the perimeter. Discal flecks are only sometimes present or weak, They are more pronounced on the hind wing. The discal fleck of the hind wings sits on the outside of the medium line or in the "shadow". On the forewing it is basal to the median line.
The species is mostly southern European (from Portugal to the Balkan peninsula and Greece) as well as North African (from Morocco to Libya). It ranges in the East to Asia minor and Syria. It also occurs in almost the whole of France to the south of the British Isles and Denmark. Also specimens have been caught in southern Germany. There is a small, isolated occurrences in the Western Ukraine. In Germany, there are but so far no secure evidence of an indigenous population. In the Middle East, in southern Turkey, Cyprus, Crete and the Greek islands of the South-East, the nominate imitaria is replaced by syriaca Culot, 1918. This form is less clearly has a little less corrugated outer cross line and a less clearly pronounced marginal line. The colour is slightly reddish. The reddish yellow form syriaca occurs especially on hot, dry areas in the lowlands and hills. It is widespread in the Mediterranean region on sandy or stony soil, the maquis shrubland, evergreen oak forests, olive groves and rocky grassland. In the Alps imitaria rises up to 900 m. In Morocco and also in the Mediterranean region it rises up to a height of 1,400 meters. imitaria is limited to the coastal areas in western France and southern England.
The moth flies in two generations from June to September in western Europe.
The larvae feed on various forms of privet.
- Scopula imitaria imitaria
- Scopula imitaria syriacaria (Culot 1918)
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- Sihvonen, P., 2005: Phylogeny and classification of the Scopulini moths (Lepidoptera: Geometridae, Sterrhinae). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 143: 473–530.
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