Brighton wainscot moth (Oria musculosa)

Brighton Wainscot
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Brighton wainscot moth fact file

Brighton wainscot moth description

GenusOria (1)

This species was given the common name 'Brighton Wainscot' because one of the first British specimens was caught in Brighton in 1855 (3). Adults are yellowish-white in colour, with streaky forewings and paler, more uniform hind-wings (4). The caterpillars are pale green in colour with a yellow head (3).

Wingspan: 3.0- 3.6 cm (1)

Brighton wainscot moth biology

The Brighton Wainscot is a single brooded species, and adults fly between late July and mid-August. The overwintering stage is the egg (1), which is laid inside the outer leaves of stems of grasses or cereal crop plants such as wheat (3). The caterpillars are present from April to the beginning of June feeding on wheat, oats, barley and rye (2), and the pupal stage occurs underground (3).


Brighton wainscot moth range

This moth has always been restricted to central areas of southern Britain in the UK (2). It has suffered a marked decline since 1980, and is now extremely rare (5). Elsewhere it is known in central and southern Europe (2).

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

Brighton wainscot moth habitat


Brighton wainscot moth status

Classified as Nationally Scarce in Great Britain (2).


Brighton wainscot moth threats

This species has suffered as a result of changes in agricultural practices including the application of insecticides, altered timing of sowing and changes in crop choice (2).


Brighton wainscot moth conservation

The Species Action Plan for the Brighton Wainscot aims to maintain the current known populations. Suggested measures include suitable habitat management at all occupied sites, and the incorporation of the needs of this species into agri-environment scheme prescriptions. Survey work and research into the precise requirements of this species are also important (2).

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

Find out more

Further reading on moths:
Leverton, R. (2001) Enjoying Moths. Poyser, London.
Skinner, B. (1984) Moths of the British Isles. Penguin Books, Harmondsworth



Information authenticated by Adrian Spalding.



Agri-environment schemes
These schemes allow the government to compensate farmers for using methods that benefit the environment. The two main initiatives in the UK are the Countryside Stewardship Scheme and Environmentally Sensitive Areas. Since October 2000 these have formed part of the England Rural Development Programme (EDRP), administered by DEFRA, the Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs. See for more on these initiatives.
Pupal stage
Stage in an insect's development, when huge changes occur that reorganise the larval form into the adult form. In butterflies the pupa is also called a chrysalis.
Single brooded
(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 Species Action Plan (December 2001):
  3. South, R. (1961) The moths of the British Isles. Frederick Warne & Co. Ltd. London.
  4. Pers. Observation From 2.
  5. Spalding, A (2003) Pers. comm.

Image credit

Brighton Wainscot  
Brighton Wainscot

© 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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