Dark Dagger - Acronicta tridens


Wingspan 35 to 45 mm. The adult moth cannot be readily distinguished from Grey Dagger except by examination of the genitalia, although in the caterpillar stage this is not a problem as the species look quite different.

Identification difficulty

Various habitats, especially where the larval foodplants are present.

When to see it

The moths fly in June and July.

Life History

The larvae feed in the autumn on a range of trees and shrubs such as Hawthorn and Blackthorn.

UK Status

It is widespread in England and Wales, though less common than Grey Dagger, although its true status is perhaps clouded by the identification issue. In a recent survey to determine the status of all macro moths in Britain this species was classified as common.

VC55 Status

Occasional in Leicestershire and Rutland. L&R Moth Group status = C (very scarce resident or rare migrant) although lack of records may be due to the need for genitalia examination to determine the species.

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map