Higher classification Abraxas
Scientific name Abraxas sylvata
|Similar Abraxas, Butterflies and moths, Abraxas grossulariata, Geometer moth, Angerona prunaria|
Abraxas sylvata, the clouded magpie, is a moth of the family Geometridae that was named by Giovanni Antonio Scopoli in 1763.
This moth is mostly white with brownish patches across all of the wings. There are small areas of pale gray on the forewings and hindwings. They resemble bird droppings while resting on the upper surface of leaves. The adults fly from late May to early August. They are attracted to light. The wingspan is 38 mm. to 48 mm. The moth is nocturnal and is easy to find during the day. They are easy to find resting during the morning. The moth starts being active at early dusk. The moths eat the plants Betula, Corylus, Fagus, Ulmus, Prunus, and Frangula. Abraxas grossulariata is similar to this species. In a group of specimens of this species, the largest one is 60 mm. while the smallest one is 31 mm. The moth is more common in Eastern Asia than in Europe. The species is listed as a priority species in the United Kingdom Biodiversity Action Plan.
Caterpillars appear from mid-July to early October. They overwinter as a pupa. The body of the caterpillar is distinctive because it is marked with longitudinal black and yellow stripes. The caterpillars feed on wych elm and common elm. The pupa hibernates underground. The caterpillars live on several deciduous trees such as Fagus sylvatica, Ulmus glabra, and Ulmus procera.
The moth was considered rare until the late 1990s in Northern Ireland. The species can be found from Europe to Japan. The moth can be found in forests, thickets, and sometimes parks on various deciduous trees.