Double line moth (Mythimna turca)

Double Line
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Double line moth fact file

Double line moth description

GenusMythimna (1)

Adults of this scarce moth species are reddish-brown in colour with black cross-lines on the forewings (3). The caterpillar is pale brown in colour with darker cross shaped markings, a whitish line along the middle of the back and a pale brown head mottled with darker brown (4).

Wingspan: 4.4- 5.2 cm (1)

Double line moth biology

Adults of this single-brooded species fly between mid-June and mid-July (1). The caterpillars are present from August to May and overwinter whilst small (1). They feed at night on a number of grasses including common bent-grass and creeping soft grass (4).


Double line moth range

In the UK, this species has been lost from several areas including Cheshire, Buckinghamshire, West Sussex and Hertfordshire (2). At present it is largely restricted to south-western Wales and Cornwall, and Devon, with a few sites in London (4). Elsewhere, it has a wide distribution in Europe from Spain to Sweden, and in Asia through to Japan (2).

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

Double line moth habitat

This moth inhabits open woodland, woodland rides, damp grassland, parkland and bracken scrub (4).


Double line moth status

Classified as Nationally Scarce in Great Britain (2).


Double line moth threats

This species has suffered as a result of changes in agricultural practices including overgrazing, drainage and application of agricultural chemicals to wet grassland. Furthermore, inappropriate management of woodlands has resulted in woodland glades and rides becoming overgrown and shaded, with detrimental effects to this moth (2).


Double line moth conservation

The Double Line moth occurs in three National Nature Reserves (NNRs), as well as in various Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) and other nature reserves. The UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP) aims to maintain the known populations of this moth and to reintroduce populations to five sites from which the species has previously been lost (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 Gateway.
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.



The footpaths and access tracks which run through and divide blocks of trees in woodland. Many rides contain a mixture of rich flora and structure, and provide different habitat conditions for a range of wildlife.
(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. Spalding, A. (2003) Pers. comm.

Image credit

Double Line  
Double Line

© 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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