Silver Y

Silver Y moth

©Amy Lewis

Silver Y

Scientific name: Autographa gamma
The Silver Y migrates to the UK in massive numbers each year - sometimes, an estimated 220 million can reach our shores in spring! Seen throughout the year, it is very common in gardens and grasslands.

Species information


Wingspan: 3.5-4.2cm

Conservation status


When to see

January to December


The Silver Y is a medium-sized moth that can be seen on warm days throughout the year, although it is most common during the late summer. At times, this migrant may be a very common visitor, especially in flowery grasslands, sand dunes and gardens. It can often be seen flying during the daytime, feeding on nectar from plants, such as Buddleia and Lavender, but also flies at night. The caterpillars feed on a wide variety of plants, including Stinging nettles, clover and cabbages. It breeds here, but the early stages cannot survive our winter.

How to identify

When at rest, the Silver Y holds its wings back along its body in a tent-like shape. The wings are patterned with dark grey, silver and brown, and display a characteristic, silver, Y-shaped mark on the forewings.



Did you know?

The Silver Y is a common migrant from the continent, sometimes arriving in vast numbers and often at the same time as massive immigrations of Marmalade flies and 7-spot Ladybirds, and smaller numbers of Clouded yellow butterflies and Humming-bird hawk-moths.

How people can help

To attract butterflies and moths into your garden, plant nectar-rich borders for them to feed along and climbing Ivy and shrubs for overwintering insects. To find out more about encouraging wildlife into your garden, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started. To buy bird and animal food, feeders and homes, visit the Vine House Farm website - an award-winning wildlife-friendly farm which gives 5% of all its takings to The Wildlife Trusts.