Cheshire Macro-Moths - Garden Tiger Moth

The Garden Tiger Moth (Arctia Caja) on Ragwort. (Photo by: Steve J. McWilliam) The Garden Tiger Moth - Arctia caja Linnaeus

Imago / Adult:

A Garden Tiger Moth (Arctia caja) crawling over the Ragwort. (Photo by: Steve J. McWilliam)

The adult moth (imago) varies between 50mm and 66 mm in wingspan. The ground colour of the forewings is white with dark chocolate brown markings. The hind-wings and the body are a bright orange-red colour, the hind wings having large blackish-blue spots, the head and thorax being covered in long brown hairs and the abdomen having black horizontal stripes. This moth is extremely variable in the placement and extensiveness of its brown and black markings and has even been found with yellow instead of the red. It is a resident moth which is single-brooded and normally flies from early July through to the end of August. A widespread moth in the Vice-Counties of Cheshire (VC-58) and South Lancashire (VC-59) but one which seems to be declining. The moth comes readily to both MV and actinic light sources.


The larvae, usually 55 to 60mm in length, is dark brown and covered densely in long hairs tipped with white. In between the long hairs the body is closely clothed in shorter black hairs with gingerish hairs along the sides. The larva has a series of obvious white marks along the spiracle line and possesses a black head capsule.


The larvae consume a wide variety of low growing herbs such as: plantains, docks and dandelions and has been recorded as feeding on bramble and other low growing shrubs and bushes.


The moth overwinters as a small larva hidden deep within tussocks or beneath grass litter.












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