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Magpie moth

Magpie moth
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Abraxas grossulariata

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.

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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.

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What does it eat?

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

When will I see it?

From June to August.

Where will I see it?

Throughout the garden. Also in parks, grassland, meadows and scrubby areas.

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