Geometridae : Ennominae
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Photo © Jono Forgham,  Little Hadham, Hertfordshire (15/07/21)

Similar Herts & Middlesex Species
Clouded Magpie
Abraxas sylvata
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Magpie Moth
Abraxas grossulariata

(Linnaeus, 1758) 1884 / 70.205

General comments:
Widespread but declining resident.


Foster (1937) remarks that the Magpie Moth was 'Common everywhere'. It was especially abundant in 1959 and Bell (1961) describes it as being '-.. in amazing mid-summer profusion in the lanes of north-west Hertfordshire in that gloriously sunny summer'. Almost every garden and allotment was plagued with the larvae of this attractive moth in the early 1950s and it was regarded as a considerable pest. By the late 1980s, however, it had become scarce; by the early 1990s it was regarded as a 'nice' moth to catch. The reason for the drastic decline is probably the decline in the practice of fruit growing in domestic gardens - coinciding with the rise of a 'supermarket culture' from the 1960s onwards. However, in the early 2000s it appears to have shown some signs of an increase again, but this was short-lived. It is highly probable that planting of fruit bushes in gardens, and managing these without use of pesticides, could encourage an upwards swing in population of this species.

Recorded in 34 (83%) of 41 10k Squares.
First Recorded in 1887.
Last Recorded in 2023.
Additional Stats

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List Species Records   [Show All Latest]
Latest 5 Records
Date#VC10k Area
27/08/2023120SP91 - Tring
23/08/2023120SP91 - Tring
16/08/2023121TQ09 - Watford / Rickmansworth
10/08/2023220SP91 - Tring
09/08/2023120SP91 - Tring
Show Details | 1990 to 2023 | 2000 to 2023 | Graph Key
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VC20 VC21 VC21 VC20
Click Map for Details
Forewing: 18-25mm.
Flight: One generation June-Aug.
Foodplant:   Blackthorn, Hawthorns, Privet, Red and Black Currant
Red List: Least Concern (LC)
GB Status: Common
Verification Grade:  Adult: 1
 Immature Adult   [Show Flight Weeks]
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