Black and White Spotted Moth with Orange Shoulders – Small Magpie

2016 October 19

This attractive little moth was hanging around our front door on the morning of July 3, 2016.


From the rear, we can also see that the abdomen tip is orange, and it has the little fringe of hairs along the wing edge that we’ve seen in a lot of other moths.


The eyes are a very deep purple, almost black.


Anyway, when I saw it, I thought that it had a certain resemblance to the white-spotted sables that we’ve seen around from time to time, so I started looking through the Peterson Field Guide to Moths in the section dealing with that family. And, I found a match right on the same page as the white-spotted sables. This one is the Small Magpie, Anania hortulata[1]. While it is a non-native moth that came over from Europe at some unspecified time in the past, nobody is much concerned about it, because its caterpillars mostly eat nettles. Which are generally not too high on lists of people’s favorite plants.

[1] While Bug Guide says it is in the genus Anania (which is the genus that Linnaeus put it into way back in 1758), the Peterson guide (which is pretty new) calls it Eurrhypara, which Bugguide lists as a synonym. I don’t know why the discrepancy. This is an awfully distinctive moth, I don’t really see why anyone would mistake it for an unnamed moth and name it again.

Comments are closed.