Striped lychnis moth (Shargacucullia lychnitis)

Striped Lychnis
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Striped lychnis moth fact file

Striped lychnis moth description

GenusShargacucullia (1)

Adult Striped Lychnis moths are rarely seen, they are bone-yellow in colour with darker markings towards the edges of the wings (3). The caterpillar may reach 5 cm in length and is pale green with variable transverse yellow bands with black spots and stripes (4).

Cucullia lychnitis.
Wingspan: 4.2- 4.7 cm (1)

Striped lychnis moth biology

Adults of this single-brooded moth fly in June and July (1), eggs are laid singly on the underside of the foodplant and caterpillars are present between July and August (1). The pupae form in autumn and overwinter in cocoons below or on the surface of the soil (4). Adult moths emerge in June but the pupal stage may persist for up to four years (1).


Striped lychnis moth range

This moth is known from most European countries between the Mediterranean and Denmark and extends as far east as central Asia. In Britain it has suffered a dramatic decline, with a contraction in range of about 50%. It has been lost from Wiltshire, Dorset, Surrey, East Anglia and Gloucestershire (2).

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

Striped lychnis moth habitat

Generally inhabits open countryside (4), roadside verges and downland (1). The caterpillars prefer warm, open and sunny areas and feed on dark mullein flowers (Verbascum nigrum) (1).


Striped lychnis moth status

Classified as Nationally Scarce in Great Britain (2).


Striped lychnis moth threats

A major factor affecting this species is the cutting of the caterpillars' foodplant in grassland and along road verges at inappropriate times (2).


Striped lychnis moth conservation

The Striped Lychnis has been identified as a priority species for conservation action under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP). The Species Action Plan produced aims to maintain all current populations of this moth, with population enhancement before 2010. In addition, reintroductions have been proposed to parts of the former range in Dorset, Wiltshire and East Anglia. A number of the current populations occur within existing Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs). Furthermore, Buckinghamshire County Council has taken this species into account in planning roadside cutting regimes (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.

Find out more

The UKBAP Species Action Plan is available at:
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 Sean Clancy.



A sheath of silk, which is spun around the pupae of some insects (a pupa is a 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).
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):
  3. Lyneborg, L. (1976) Moths in colour. Blandford, Dorset.
  4. Carter, D. J. , Hargreaves, B. (1986) A field guide to caterpillars of butterflies and moths in Britain and Europe. Collins, London.

Image credit

Striped Lychnis  
Striped Lychnis

© Paul Waring

Paul Waring
Windmill View
1366 Lincoln Road
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 1733 571 917


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