Insects of Britain and Ireland: the genera of Lepidoptera-Geometridae

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L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz

Abraxas Leach

Calospilos, Zerene.

Adults. Crepuscular and nocturnal; relatively stout-bodied to slender-bodied. Antennae of males stout, simple; fasciculate-ciliate. Face smooth.

Wingspan 38–48 mm. The outer margin of the forewing convexly curved. Forewings typically white, spotted and or blotched with grey or black, with a yellow or orange-ish transverse band or markings and sometimes with a grey, orange and blue blotch at the anal angle, but exhibiting yellowish, fuscous and melanic forms; with a clear discal mark, or without a clear discal mark. Forewings of the male without a fovea. Hindwings conspicuously patterned (typically white, with grey or black spots and sometimes with a grey, orange and blue blotch near the anal angle; but exhibiting yellowish, fuscous and melanic forms); typically white, but exhibiting yellowish and melanic forms; with a clear discal mark to without a clear discal mark; transversely lined (the outer and submarginal lines usually recognisable as rows of dark spots or blobs).

Hindwings lacking a tubular vein 5. Vein 8 of the hindwings approximated to or anastomosed with the upper margin of the cell to the middle or beyond. Hindwing veins 6 and 7 separate.

Posterior tibiae of males 4-spurred.

The abdomen conspicuously patterned.

Early stages. Larvae feeding on foliage of Ribes, Ulmus, Prunus.

British representation. 3 species (one adventive); South-east England, Central-southern England, South-west England, English Midlands, Northern England, Southern Scotland, Northern Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. Living adults found June to August. A. grossulariata (Magpie Moth); A. pantaria (The Panther); A. sylvata (Scarce or Clouded Magpie).

Subfamily. Ennominae.

Illustrations. • Abraxas sylvata (Scarce or Clouded Magpie: B. Ent. 515). • Abraxas sylvata (legend+text: B. Ent. 515). • Abraxas sylvata (text, cont.: B. Ent. 515). • A. grossulariata (Magpie, Currant Moth) and A. sylvata (Scarce Magpie), with Ligdia, Lomaspilis and Semiothisa: Newman. • A. grossulariata, A. sylvata and A. pantaria, with other Sterrhinae: Kirby 45.


To view the illustrations with detailed captions, go to the interactive key. This also offers full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting or lacking specified attributes, and distributions of character states within any set of taxa.

Cite this publication as: ‘Watson, L., and Dallwitz, M.J. 2003 onwards. Insects of Britain and Ireland: the genera of Lepidoptera-Geometridae. Version: 8th June 2016. delta-intkey.com’.

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