Moths in the Geometridae family, inchworms, loopers, 1, 2, 3
Abraxas grossulariata, the Magpie moth
Above is the Magpie moth, Abraxas glossulariata. It is widespread throughout Europe, but more common in warmer areas. In the U. K. it is found sporadically. This one was found in late July in Aberdeenshire close to a hawthorn hedge. It is found in gardens, moorland, and woodland edges. In the U. K. there is one generation a year. The eggs are laid in batches on the undersides of the leaves of the foodplant (see below) in August. The caterpillars feed from August to May. Some hibernate over winter. They pupate in May in a flimsy silk cocoon on the foodplant. The caterpillar can be clearly seen through the open weave of the cocoon. The adults emerge in late June or July, and fly until August. The caterpillar, pupa and adult all taste bitter as indicated by the warning colouration.
The caterpillar is pale yellow/white with black splotches, with an orange or red line along the sides at the spiracles, and can reach up to 32 mm long. The head is shiny black. Its foodplants include currants, gooseberry, hawthorn, euonymus, blackthorn, sedum, and heather. The adult colouration can vary. Fore wing length is 18 - 25 mm. The adult pretends to be dead if caught.