It is found pretty much throughout the country and is a day flying moth. Endemic to NZ, this medium-sized moth can be seen from September to June. The adults have a wingspan of 35 – 45 mm and are black (or sometimes dark brown) with white patches. The moth's body is yellow and black striped. The males have quite feathery feelers, while the female's feelers are smooth.
Magpie moths can often be seen feeding at flowers; it is common around its preferred food - plants of the daisy family, for example, Groundsel (and other Senecio spp.), ragworts and cineraria.
The colourful, hairy, predominately black larvae feed openly on the plants, often stripping off all the leaves. The mature larvae will sometimes wander from the plant to pupate. The loosely spun cocoon incorporates some of the larval hairs and may also be found among leaves.