Magpie Moth

Abraxas grossulariata


The Magpie Moth is a medium-sized moth which is quite butterfly like in appearance. It is on the wing during summer when it can be frequently found in gardens, as well as woodland, scrub and heather moorland. The caterpillars feed on a variety of shrubs, including Hazel, Hawthorn, Privet and currants. The Magpie Moth overwinters as a caterpillar and pupates in late spring.

How to identify

The Magpie Moth is mainly white, with black and yellow spots on the wings, and a yellow and black body. The similar Small Magpie Moth lacks the yellow spots on the wings and is smaller.

Where to find it

Widespread in England, Wales and the lowlands of Scotland.


When to find it

  • June
  • July
  • August

How can people help

Moths such as the Magpie Moth are common in gardens - why not set up a moth trap at night and see who comes to visit? To attract moths and butterflies into your garden, plant nectar-rich borders and shrubs for them to feed on. To find out more about encouraging wildlife into your garden, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started.

Species information

Common name
Magpie Moth
Latin name
Abraxas grossulariata
Butterflies and moths
Wingspan: 3.5-4.5cm
Conservation status