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The adult moth is relatively difficult to identify. Melanic or poorly-marked males are best confirmed by the shape of the abdominal plate. However, many Scottish examples can be identified by a combination of features including dark costal marks, black chequering on the veins, and a pale metathoracic spot.
There are two generations in the south with adults flying in May and June, and again from July to August. In Scotland, the second brood is occasional or only partial. Larvae of the second-brood feed on flowers of golden-rod (Solidago virgaurea) and ragwort (Senecio jacobaea). The foodplants of the first brood are not fully established.