Heart and Dart
Animals, Moths

Scientific name: Agrotis exclamationis

Two generations, most commonly from mid-May to early August with another second generation in September. Common to England, Wales and Ireland, less frequent in Scotland at the north of its range.

Most easily recognisable by the dark blackish shallow-V band across the collar when viewed from the front. The wings can vary in colour from pale or greyish brown to dark brown or even blackish; the paler examples are usually males and females are generally darker. The central dart mark is narrow and a solid black.

The adults regularly come to light, often in large numbers. The caterpillars can be found from July to the following spring, feeding until October and then overwintering as fully grown larvae in underground cells where it also pupates.

England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland
Specific name:
Agrotis exclamationis
Found in all habitats except at high altitude
Wingspan Range – 30-38mm
Medium sized
One of the most abundant larger moths in Great Britain.

Size and Family

  • Family – Darts, yellow underwings and clays (Noctuidae)
  • Medium sized
  • Wingspan Range – 30-38mm

Conservation Status

  • UK BAP: Not listed
  • Common

Caterpillar Food Plants

A wide range of wild and cultivated herbaceous plants including Ribwort Plantain (Plantago lanceolate) and Fat-hen (Chenopodium alblum).


Found in all habitats except at high altitude. Most abundant in arable farmland, pasture and gardens.


  • Countries – England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland
  • One of the most abundant larger moths in Great Britain. Common throughout England, Wales, the Isle of Man, Ireland and the Channel Islands. Widespread but less plentiful in Scotland, especially in the north.