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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

15 November, 2016

Pyrausta aurata: the small purple and gold moth

If you have a garden and grow herbs, especially mint and marjoram, then look out for the small purple and gold moth (Pyrausta aurata) visiting them in sunshine in August and September. Its fondness for mint gives it its other common name, the mint moth.
It is one of those species that is aptly named. It is, indeed, small; less than a centimetre from wing tip to wing tip. It is mainly purple and has four small gold dots, one on each wing. It is a very active day flying moth but if you wait it will stop to feed and then you can see it properly. Whilst most often seen in August and September it actually flies from March onwards. It has two broods and the later brood tends to be more numerous and more visible than the early brood.
There is a common purple and gold moth which is slightly bigger and has more golden colouring on the fore-wings. It is less of a garden species, more usually seen on calcareous grasslands. 
Pyrausta aurata: the small purple and gold moth