Abraxas grossulariata

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Magpie moth
Abraxas grossulariata
Magpie moth (Abraxas grossulariata) 2.jpg
in Oxford
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

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 feeding on the leaves of shrubs such as gooseberry and blackcurrant.


The length of the forewing is 18–25 mm.The strikingly patterned forewings have a white ground color, 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 a few, small dark stains.

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


  • 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]