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Small Magpie

Anania hortulata

Small Magpie, Small Magpie Moth

A close up image of a small magpie moth Anania hortulata on a leaf

Eurrhypara hortulata-01 (xndr)

by Svdmolen. CC BY 2.5

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Anania hortulata, or the Small Magpie, is an insect in the grass moth family (Crambidae). It's not a day-flying moth, but it's often seen in daylight when disturbed from its food plant, Common Nettle. It's widespread across its range, preferring gardens, scrub, hedgerows and wasteground habitats. You can attract it by growing some of its favourite plants: Woundworts, Mints, Horehounds, and Bindweeds. There are two Magpie Moths in the UK, the small and the large (Abraxas grossulariata). The larvae are most active in August and September, feeding in rolled leaves.
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Rarely a garden pest.


Adults: The forewing length is roughly 1.5cm. Its wings are white with black margins and spots. The body has brown then black hairs. Larvae: They feed in rolled-up leaves so aren't seen often. They're tiny light green caterpillars with black heads. Pupae: The cocoons are located in hollow stems or under loose bark.









The UK and Europe; North America

Biological treatment

Anania hortulata isn't a garden pest, so you don't need to remove them. You can attract them by letting patches 'grow wild'. Using plants like nettle, mint, roundwort and bindweed will attract these insects to your garden. The latter include things like flower baskets, climbers, bird tables and feeders, overgrown patches, native grasses, log piles or wildflower strips.


Annual Nettle

Urtica urens


Stachys spp.


Mentha spp.


Ballota spp.


Marrubium spp.

A close up of a Convolvulus flower in a garden

Morning Glory

Convolvulus spp.


Calystegia spp.


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