Waved carpet moth (Hydrelia sylvata)

Waved Carpet
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Waved carpet moth fact file

Waved carpet moth description

GenusHydrelia (1)

Adult Waved Carpet moths have pale whitish-grey coloured wings with wavy brown patterning (3). A darker dusky-brown form also occurs in Kent and Sussex (1). The caterpillar is purplish-brown in colour becoming greenish towards the sides (4).

Wingspan: 2.6- 2.7 cm (1)

Waved carpet moth biology

This moth is single-brooded, the adults fly in June and July and the caterpillars are present in July and August. The overwintering stage is the pupa(1).


Waved carpet moth range

A very local species in the UK, the Waved Carpet is found in five main locations: Devon, Cornwall and Dorset, the borders of Hampshire Sussex and Surrey, Kent and East Sussex, and Monmouthshire and Gloucestershire. It is also occasionally reported from Wales and Cumbria. It is believed to be in decline in many parts of its European range (2).

You can view distribution information for this species at the National Biodiversity Network Atlas.

Waved carpet moth habitat

The main habitats for this species are alder woodland and chestnut coppice. The caterpillars also feed on birch and sallow trees (5).


Waved carpet moth status

Classified as Nationally Scarce in Great Britain (2).


Waved carpet moth threats

This species may have suffered because the decline in traditional coppice management has resulted in a loss of young regrowth. However, populations appear to be stable in western Britain (5).


Waved carpet moth conservation

The Waved Carpet is a priority species under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP). The plan aims to enhance the size of all known populations by the year 2010. Coppice for Butterflies, an initiative of the Forestry Commission has focused on five areas where the Waved Carpet occurs. A number of the current populations occur within nature reserves and Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) (2).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.
There may be further information about this species available via the National Biodiversity Network Atlas.
The UK Biodiversity Action Plan for this species is available at UK BAP.

Find out more

Further reading on moths:
Skinner, B. (1998) Colour Identification Guide to Moths of the British Isles. Viking Press, London.
Leverton, R. (2001) Enjoying moths. Poyser, London.



Information authenticated by Adrian Spalding.



Coppicing is a traditional form of woodland management in which trees are cut close to the base of the trunk. Re-growth occurs in the form of many thin poles. Coppiced woodlands are cut in this way on rotation, producing a mosaic of different stages of re-growth.
Stage in an insect's development when huge changes occur, which reorganise the larval form into the adult form. In butterflies the pupa is also called a chrysalis.
(also known as 'univoltine'). Insect life cycle that takes 12 months to be complete, and involves a single generation. The egg, larva, pupa or adult over winters as a dormant stage.


  1. Skinner, B. (1984) Colour Identification Guide to Moths of the British Isles. Viking Press, London.
  2. UK BAP (December 2001): http://www.ukbap.org.uk
  3. Pers. observation from images.
  4. South, R. (1961) The moths of the British Isles, Series 2. F. Warne, Wayside and Woodland Series.
  5. Spalding, A (2003) Pers. comm.

Image credit

Waved Carpet  
Waved Carpet

© David Green / British Butterfly Conservation Society Ltd

Butterfly Conservation
Manor Yard
East Lulworth
BH20 5QP
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 1929 400 209


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