Argent and Sable

The Argent and Sable is a distinctive day-flying moth. In Ireland and Scotland it is predominantly a moorland species found in areas of bog myrtle Myrica gale in the western half of the respective countries

The UK government has listed the Argent & Sable as a UK Biodiversity Action Plan Priority species in need of urgent conservation action.

Argent and Sable caterpillars are glossy black with golden markings along their sides. The caterpillar feeds inside a protective chamber (a larval spinning) that it constructs by fastening the leaves of its foodplant together. On bog myrtle they create a slightly domed, cylindrical spinning. They feed for around five weeks, between June and September, before overwintering as a pupa. Inside the spun leaves the caterpillar only feeds on the inner surface of the leaf. Once the food supply is exhausted they move and create a new spinning.

The adults fly by day usually in warm, fine weather from late May to early July. Argent and Sable is best surveyed by looking for adults on sunny days; however, searches for occupied spinnings in late summer can be a worthy alternative and has the advantage of not being weather dependent.