Tiger Moths - Arctiidae

Tiger moths are fat rounded looking moths, usually hairy and poisonous. The bright bold colours on the underwings are an indication to birds that they are unpalatable. The more sombre colours on the forewings are no less striking, forming variable and cryptic camouflage patterns. By night they warn off bats by emitting a barrage of ultrasound which either confuses the bats so they retreat or indicates that the moth is an undesirable target. The larvae are very hairy, but should not be confused with the irritant Pine Processionary caterpillars. Tiger moth caterpillars do not live communally and do not form long lines of nose-to-tail caterpillars. Tiger moth caterpillars are encountered individually, usually in long grass with lots of weeds.

Garden Tiger Arctia caja
The brown and white pattern on the forewings and the black spots on an orange background on the underwings are very variable. Occasionally the forewing has no white and the underwing is yellow. Adult moths can be seen June-August. Larvae are very commonly encountered crossing paths and tracks in the spring. They are probably the hairiest caterpillar you will ever encounter, with tawny hair below and forming a collar, and black with white dots covered in long pale hair on the back. There is a very good post on Aigronne Valley Wildlife, who have been moth trapping in the next valley to us, showing how variable the Garden Tiger can be. Also covers French name and habitat.

Photograhed by Loire Valley Nature:
Photographs numbered from left to right and top to bottom. 1-4 Garden Tiger caterpillars photographed in a vineyard near Saint-Aignan (strictly speaking just outside the area covered by this blog because it is in 41, but still in the Touraine) April.






















Jersey Tiger Euplagia quadripunctaria: Adults active from June to September in dry open woodland and scrub. Both day and night flying.

A female Jersey Tiger. This specimen is deformed, possibly the result of some trauma in the cocoon, or immediately after emerging.

A female Jersey Tiger. This specimen is deformed, possibly the result of some trauma in the cocoon, or immediately after emerging.
Jersey Tiger, nectaring on Wild Oregano Origanum vulgare and showing its underside.


No comments:

Post a Comment