Saturday, September 25, 2010

Garden Tiger (Arctia caja)

We've been seeing some wonderful caterpillars in our garden since the Spring and one in particular always caught my eye. It's very very furry, with an almost fluorescent orange colour and the hairs stand on end, as if it has been electrocuted. Every time I saw it I would shout "I bet that's poisonous!", because I was taught the furrier the caterpillar, the more dangerous it is. I don't know if that's true or not, but it's something I've thought for years.
Garden Tiger Caterpillar
I have wondered for some time if I would see what kind of moth/butterfly these wonderful hairy beasts would turn in to. I found out yesterday just how beautiful they really are.
Sadly, I found one of these beautiful Garden Tiger moths in the shed. It was dead. I don't know how long it had been there and even though there was no life left in it, it still amazed me with its colours and beauty.
I'm going to pin and preserve it because it's so beautiful. It just saddened me that I had to see this beautiful moth this way. I would have loved to see it fly.
Garden Tiger Moth
2057 Garden Tiger Arctia caja
(Linnaeus, 1758)

Wingspan 45-65 mm.

Another species which was a favourite with early collectors, who selectively bred it to create unusual colours and forms.

Once a quite common moth in most of Britain, it seems to have declined in many places in the last few years.

It flies in July and August, and will regularly visit the light-trap.

The caterpillars are the 'woolly bears' of many people's childhood, and feed on a number of herbaceous plants.

(images copyright of their respective owners and sourced from

1 comment:

  1. Ooh pretty! My new house has so many huge, pretty moths in the garden :) x