Pyrausta aurata – Mint Moth belongs to the family Crambidae. This is a large Family with 140+ species recorded in Britain alone.
A small moth with a 18-20mm wingspan(1). This is one that can be identified in the garden with a good photograph and reference material. It is double brooded and flies March- early Sep (2).
It’s place in the Garden (Visitor/Lured)
The larva/caterpillars feed on the Mints, Calamint, Marjoram and other Lamiaceae from within a silken web (2). We haven’t any mint species recorded in the garden but there are plenty in the local area.
All stages of a moths development are subject to a wide range of predators. Including small mammals, birds and amphibians. Other invertebrates are also a major threat, including dragonflies, beetles, lacewing and wasps. As such whilst many view certain caterpillars as a pest, these small packets of protein help support a wide array of other beneficial and interesting species. Moths are of course interesting in their own right and are very welcome in the Garden.
How to encourage the species to your garden
Current distribution maps place this species common across much of the UK but rare in Scotland. So if you live in an area with suitable larval food plants already present, there is a fair chance that by introducing this food plant to your own garden, the moth will arrive of its own accord.
Alternatively, you can lure moths to you by leaving a secure window open and a light on during the warmer months, or better still invest in a moth trap. Even if you don’t see this species, you may be visited by many other interesting species.
- UK Moths: Species Account Page. https://ukmoths.org.uk/species/pyrausta-aurata/adult/ Accessed online 28th January 2023
- Sterling, P & Parsons, M (2012): Bloomsbury Wildlife Guides: Field Guide to the Micro moths of Great Britain and Ireland. Bloomsbury Publishing Ltd