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Join date : 1970-01-01

PostSubject: Photo of the Week   Sat Aug 17, 2013 7:49 am

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This photo of a Magpie Moth caterpillar was sent in by Adam Harris.  It's a species which is quite common, although not often seen.  The adult moths are night-fliers, although they do sometimes show themselves during the day.  But that's usually when they've been disturbed from their roost site.

That colour scheme of black and orange spots is carried through to the adult moth.  Victorian collectors used to keep specimens with either very faint, or very bold markings, and by selective breeding were able to produce extreme variations in the markings of the next generation of moths.

Scientific name:  Abraxas grossulariata

Size:  Wingspan up to 45mm

Distribution:  Found throughout the UK

Months seen:  June to August

Life span:  The adult moths live for just 3 or 4 weeks

Habitat:  Woodlands, gardens and hedgerows

Food:  The larvae feed on hawthorn, blackthorn and hazel

Special features:  Magpie Moths are white with a variable arrangement of black spots and orange markings.  The head and legs are black and the body is pale orange with black markings.

Magpie Moths are readily attracted to light.

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