Gold Swift - Hepialus hecta

Phylum: Arthropoda - Class: Insecta - Order: Lepidoptera - Family: Hepialidae

Hepialus hecta

Five of the approximately 500 species of the Hepialidae moths (Swift moths) occur in Great Britain and Ireland.

It is the gold markings on the forewing of the male Gold Swift Moth that distinguishes it from the other Swift Moth species found in Britain and Ireland. The female has broad greyish-to-purple bands on the forewing. They fly mainly at dusk in June and July, but have also been recorded in flight at dawn and late afternoon.

The Gold Swift Moth's habitat is rough grassland, open woodland and heathland with bracken

The forewing of the Gold Swift Moth ranges between 12 and 15mm (Male) and 13 and 16mm (Female)

Hepialus hecta, UK


This resident moth is both common and widespread throughout Britain and Ireland.


The Gold Swift Moth is shortlived as its shortened proboscis prevents it from being able to feed. It over-winters twice in its larval form and pupates below ground.

The larval foodplants of the Gold Swift Moth include the roots of young Bracken and some grass species.

Picture: Rob Petley-Jones

Studying butterflies and moths...

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