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Orange Swift Triodia sylvina

The family is usually referred to as Ghost Moths, but is also called Swift Moths or Swifts. It is a family of rather primitive moths, of which only 5 species appear in Western Europe. The adults are characterized by the rather elongate wings and short antennae. The white larvae of all Ghost Moths eat roots of plants. Most of them live inside the roots. As roots are hard to digest most species will overwinter as a larva twice, just like many larvae of beetles living in wood. In our garden only the Orange Swift made its appearance so far. Having a wingspan of 32 up to 48 mm. this is a very variable species in size. The name Orange Swift actually applies to the males only. Females are greyish brown. The swifts have a very characteristic appearance, making identification easy though. The male is in the top pictures, the female in the bottom pictures. The caterpillar lives in or near the roots of dandelion, bracken and other plants for two years before pupating. The adults are on the wing from July to September. The females of the Orange Swift drop their eggs flying low over the host plants. Very common in England and Wales, less so in Scotland. The scientific name of this animal has been changing rapidly, but it is still also referred to as Hepialus sylvinus and Hepialus sylvina.