Broom-tip Moth

Fast Facts

Latin name: Chesias rufata

Notable feature: It typically occupies heath and moorland, where the larval foodplant, Broom (Cytisus scoparia) is found.

Conservation Status: Near Threatened

Where in the UK: This is a scarce and local species in Scotland, but fairly widespread throughout Britain in scattered localities.

Broom-tip Moth (Chesias rufata) © Patrick Clement under Creative Commons


The Broom-tip Moth (Chesias rufata) is a native moth, typically found on heath and moorland; as its name suggest Broom is an important part of its lifecycle.

Adult Broom-tip Moths range in colour from silvery-grey to dark-chesnut and have a reddish-brown band on each forewing; the subspecies scotica has slightly stronger markings with the forewing being bluish grey.

Broom-tip Moth caterpillars are pale green with a white/cream stripe down each side of its body; very similar in appearance to other species.

    • Size: Broom-tip Moths have a wingspan of 28-32 mm (Forewing measures 14-16 mm)
    • Life span:  Annual life cycle; about a year from egg to adult. They possibly have a 2nd flight season (although this could be just in Europe where it is warmer) consequently, some may have much shorter lifespans.
    • Diet: Caterpillars feed on Broom, adults are pollinators of flowers
    • Reproduction: Nesting occurs singly or in relatively small nesting aggregations in bare, mineral soils. Sometimes flat compact areas around paths are used, more often sloped, bare south facing banks.
    • When to see: Flight season of adults is April to July and they are attracted to light.
    • Population Trend:  The Broom-tip Moth is on the Scottish Biodiversity List and listed as declining.
    • Threats: Unknown: possibly agricultural intensification, habitat fragmentation, inappropriate management (e.g., tidying, use of pesticides and fertilisers)
    • Fun Fact:  There are two subspecies of this moth in Britain; the subspecies scotica which occurs in central and northern Scotland and the nominate subspecies rufata occurs in the south and south-west of England with occasional colonies further north. The Scottish subspecies generally has stronger markings.

How you can help: 

Buglife is working to increase awareness of invertebrates and the Broom-tip Moth through specific projects and campaigns such as “Ardeer Peninsula – Scotland’s bee haven” but we need your help!

Get involved with moth trapping and share your results with Butterfly Conservation National Moth recording scheme or download the iRecord app and get recording!

Do remember that we rely on donations to continue our work.  If you have searched, found and learnt about our incredible invertebrates on our website, please do consider Making a Donation, Becoming a Member or maybe even making a purchase in our shop.  For more ideas on how to support our work find out how to Get Involved.  Thank you 🕷