Mother Shipton Moth

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Mother Shipton Moth
Callistege mi.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Noctuidae
Genus: Callistege
Species: C. mi
Binomial name
Callistege mi
Clerck, 1759
  • Euclidia mi var. extrema
  • Euclidia extrema
  • Euclidia mi
  • Phalaena litterata
  • Callistege litterata
  • Callistege mi elzei
  • Callistege elzei

The Mother Shipton Moth, (Callistege mi) is a moth of the Noctuidae family. It was classified by Carl Alexander Clerck in 1759, and is also known under the name of Euclidia mi.[1] In Finnish it is known as Piirtoyökkönen and in German as Scheck-Tageule.[2] Its habitat spans over most of Europe, Siberia, the Far East and Asia Minor.[2] On the British Isles it is most common in England and Wales; less so in Scotland and Ireland.[3] It flies by day, normally taking only short, rapid flights,[3] and can be found in wasteland and other open habitats.[3] The adult moth's forewing is 13 to 16 mm (0.51 to 0.63 inches) long, and the wingspan is 25 to 30 mm (0.98 to 1.18 inches).[4] The stages of its life cycle are as follows: egg: May – September, larva: June – September, pupa: July – May, and imago: May – July.[4] It hibernates as a pupa, and does so in a cocoon among blades of grass, or right underneath the ground.[5] Among its foods is the nectar of the white clover and the creeping buttercup.[4]

Lateral view
Mother Shipton.jpg

The popular, English name for this moth comes from the pattern on its forewing. This pattern resembles the iconic representation of Ursula Southeil, known as Mother Shipton – a sixteenth-century prophetess and witch.[1] Mother Shipton is a mostly mythical character, who supposedly foretold the death of Cardinal Wolsey in 1530.[1] Charles Hindley, a nineteenth-century bookseller, created a prophetic poem that he claimed to be by Shipley.[6] This poem told of "Carriages without horses" and air planes, as well as predicting the end of the world in 1881.[7]


  1. ^ a b c Kellett, Arnold. The Yorkshire Dictionary of Dialect, Tradition and Folklore (2nd ed.). Otley: Smith Settle. pp. 117–8. ISBN 1-85825-016-1. 
  2. ^ a b Savela, Markku. "Euclidia mi". Retrieved 2008-10-23. 
  3. ^ a b c Kimber, Ian. "Mother Shipton Callistege mi". UK Moths. Retrieved 2008-10-23. 
  4. ^ a b c Lindsey, J.K. (2005). "Callistege mi". The Ecology of Commanster. Retrieved 2008-10-23. 
  5. ^ De Prins, Willy; Chris Steeman. "Callistege mi (Clerck, 1759)". Flemish Entomological Society. Retrieved 2008-10-23. 
  6. ^ Simpson, Jacqueline (1991). "A Panic for the Year 2000?". Folklore (Folklore Enterprises, Ltd.) 101 (1): pp. 104–5. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 
  7. ^ Wilson, Pip. "Mother Shipton, England's Nostradamus lady". Wilson's Almanac. Retrieved 2008-10-23.