When I first spotted this little moth clinging upside down to a flowerhead of Ribwort plantain, I thought it was a pupa of some kind. It was only when I got really close with my camera that I noticed a little eye watching me. Though it must’ve been a bit shocked to see a giant with a black box looming over it, it didn’t move. Even as I rotated the stem this way and that to get photos from different angles, it stayed perfectly still. Maybe it was petrified or maybe it just felt assured that its perfect camouflage meant it wouldn’t be harmed – and it certainly wasn’t harmed. And I was overjoyed to see such a gorgeous creature.
It’s a Silver Y moth (Autographa gamma), named for the little white marking on its forewings that looks like a Y or, if you know your Greek alphabet, a gamma. Though they can be found in the warmer parts of Britain all year round, these little creatures (with a wingspan of 30-45mm) are also migratory. In spring, they fly from the southern parts of Europe and from north Africa as far north as Greenland, Iceland and the Scandinavian countries, sometimes arriving in Britain in their thousands. Look for them on their favourite food plants, the clovers, Common nettle, and the peas and cabbages in your vegetable garden.