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Abraxas grossulariata

Abraxas grossulariata, (

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Protostomia
Cladus: Ecdysozoa
Cladus: Panarthropoda
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Hexapoda
Classis: Insecta
Cladus: Dicondylia
Subclassis: Pterygota
Cladus: Metapterygota
Infraclassis: Neoptera
Cladus: Eumetabola
Cladus: Endopterygota
Superordo: Panorpida
Cladus: Amphiesmenoptera
Ordo: Lepidoptera
Subordo: Glossata
Cladus: Coelolepida
Cladus: Myoglossata
Cladus: Neolepidoptera
Infraordo: Heteroneura
Cladus: Eulepidoptera
Cladus: Ditrysia
Cladus: Apoditrysia
Cladus: Obtectomera
Cladus: Macroheterocera
Superfamilia: Geometroidea

Familia: Geometridae
Subfamilia: Ennominae
Tribus: Abraxini
Genus: Abraxas
Species: Abraxas grossulariata
Subspecies: A. g. conspurcata – A. g. dsungarica – A. g. grossulariata – A. g. karafutonis – A. g. minor – A. g. notabilis – A. g. ribesata

Abraxas grossulariata (Linnaeus, 1758)

Phalaena (Geometra) grossulariata Linnaeus, 1758


Sato, R., 2001: Type species of the Geometridae (Lepidoptera) described by Matsumura in the Hokkaido University Insect Collection, Japan. Insecta Matsumurana New Series 58': 115–138. Full article: [1].

Vernacular names
беларуская: Агрэставы пядзенік
čeština: Skvrnopásník angreštový
English: Magpie moth
français: Zérène du Groseillier
magyar: Pöszmétearaszoló
Nederlands: Bonte bessenvlinder

Abraxas grossulariata is a moth of the family Geometridae, native to the Palearctic realm and North America. Its distinctive speckled colouration has given it a common name of magpie moth. The caterpillar is similarly coloured to the adult, and may be found feeding on the leaves of shrubs such as gooseberry and blackcurrant. The species was first described by Carl Linnaeus in his 1758 10th edition of Systema Naturae.


The length of the forewing is 18–25 mm. The strikingly patterned forewings have a white ground colour, with six transverse series of black stains, partly associated with a pale yellow basal cross band and another through the central area of the forewing. The hindwings are paler, and have a few, small dark stains.

It is a highly variable species with many different forms. Research using Abraxas grossulariata led to the discovery of sex-linked characteristics.

Magpie moth (Abraxas grossulariata) 2.jpg

Mounted specimen


Abraxas grossulariata grossulariata
Abraxas grossulariata karafutonis Matsumura, 1925 (Sakhalin)
Abraxas grossulariata conspurcata Butler, 1878 (Japan)
Abraxas grossulariata dsungarica Wehrli, 1939 (Dzungaria)

Recorded foodplants

Ribes rubrum
Ribes nigrum
Prunus spinosa
Euonymus europaeus


G. Evelyn Hutchinson, 1969 Some continental European aberrations of Abraxas grossulariata Linn. (Lepidoptera) with a note on the theoretical significance of the variation in the species Transactions of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences v. 43, p. 1-24.
G. Evelyn Hutchinson, 1974 New and inadequately described aberrations of Abraxas grossulariata (Linn.) (Lep. Geometridae). Entomological Record 86:199–206.

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