Magpie moth

  • Scientific name: Abraxas grossulariata
  • Type: Insects

Key information

This very pretty moth has variable black and white patterned wings with a yellowy-orange stripe in the middle of its forewings and near its head. It is found throughout Britain, except in the far north.

The caterpillar, which is pale green with bold, black spots and a rusty line down the sides, is conspicuously coloured to warn off predators.

Caterpillars feed on blackthorn, hawthorn, currant and gooseberry bushes and sometimes on the garden shrub Euonymus japonicus. It overwinters as a caterpillar and pupates in May or June.

What they eat:

Adults drink nectar from flowers. Caterpillars eat blackthorn, hawthorn, currant and gooseberry bushes.


About 50mm

Identifying features:

Natural habitats: Flower border Hanging basket Hedge Herb garden Meadow area Patio Shrub Window box Woodland area

Where and when to see them

They can be seen throughout the garden. Also in parks, grassland, meadows and scrubby areas.

Magpie moths can be seen from June to August.

  • jan
  • feb
  • mar
  • apr
  • may
  • jun
  • jul
  • aug
  • sep
  • oct
  • nov
  • dec