Abraxas grossulariata

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Magpie moth
Abraxas grossulariata
Abraxas grossulariata orkney.jpg
Abraxas grossulariata MHNT.jpg
Mounted specimen
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Hexapoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Geometridae
Tribe: Abraxini
Genus: Abraxas
Species: A. grossulariata
Binomial name
Abraxas grossulariata
Linnaeus, 1758

Abraxas grossulariata is a moth of the family Geometridae, native to the Palaearctic ecozone and North America. Its distinctive speckled colouration has given it a common name of magpie moth. The caterpillar is similarly coloured to the adult, and may be found as a pest feeding on the leaves of shrubs such as gooseberry.


The length of the forewing is 18–25 mm.The strikingly patterned forewings have a white ground cololor, with six transverse series of black stains, partly associated with a pale yellow basal cross-band and another through the central area of the forewing.The hind wings are paler, and have much less dark stains on them, and these are also small.

It is a highly variable species with many different forms. Research using Abraxas grossulariata led to the discovery of sex-linked characters.


  • Abraxas grossulariata grossulariata
  • Abraxas grossulariata karafutonis Matsumura, 1925 (Sakhalin)
  • Abraxas grossulariata conspurcata Butler, 1878 (Japan)
  • Abraxas grossulariata dsungarica Wehrli, 1939 (Dzungaria)

Recorded foodplants[edit]


  • G. Evelyn Hutchinson, 1969 Some continental European aberrations of Abraxas grossulariata Linn. (Lepidoptera) with a note on the theoretical significance of the variation in the speciesTransactions of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences v. 43, p. 1-24.
  • G. Evelyn Hutchinson, 1974 New and inadequately described aberrations of Abraxas grossulariata (Linn.) (Lep. Geometridae). Entomological Record 86:199–206.

External links[edit]