MAGPIE MOTH Abraxas grossulariata


This is an insect I had never knowingly heard of or seen until last weekend when it turned up in the kitchen. The species was once prized by collectors for its marking and colouring, apparently. They like currant and gooseberry bushes. And unwisely flying into kitchens. It’s also the first time I’ve seen or heard the word ‘Abraxas’ other than in the context of Santana’s 2nd album (1970), with its (at the time) controversial cover (Mati Klarwein’s ‘Annunciation’).

Magpie Moth 1 Magpie Moth 2 Magpie Moth 3santana-757-l

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8 thoughts on “MAGPIE MOTH Abraxas grossulariata

  1. Used to collect the caterpillars off the gooseberry bushes where I lived as a boy. They pupated and turned into this beautiful moth months later – we had hundreds! We knew them as Gooseberry Moths (because of where we found them) – only now found out their proper name.

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    • Thanks, Rob, that’s interesting. I’ve not noticed them around gooseberries (our neighbour has them) – nor until last year after we planted hyssop for the first time. I assumed it had come from there. But now I think about it, our neighbours have currants too. Perhaps it came from them? The hyssop is about to flower again, and I’m longing to see what turns up to feed on it this year, especially day moths like the Magpie that I’ve never seen in our garden before… RH

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