Monday, 28 November 2016

Moth Mondays - The Cream-spot Tiger

MOTH MONDAYS


The Cream-spot Tiger
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Superfamily: Noctuoidea
Family: Erebidae
Tribe: Arctiini
Genus: Epicallia
Species: Epicallia villica
[aka: Arctia villica]


Possibly the most recognisable moth next to the Garden Tiger is the...
Cream-spot Tiger [Epicallia villica] i'Ecaille fermière or i'Ecaille villageoise.
In fact it is often mistaken for the Garden Tiger....
understandable as the wings are almost the reverse of the former.
The female is a day flyer.... the male only flies at night...
not entirely correct... they both fly at night...
but if you see one in flight during the day, it is most probably a female.

They are a very distinctive moth....
black forewings, occasionally very dark brown....
with white/cream, slightly rectangular blobs...
and rich egg-yolk yellow hindwings with a pattern of black spots or blobs...
and an orange, through to bright-red at the tip, abdomen.


This is a typical Cream-spot Tiger.


The caterpillars, still known as woolly bears, are more like a bristly scrubbing brush than anything described as woolly!!


The forewing markings on the adults are also quite variable...
but are almost always white/cream splodges on a black background...
In Leps.it and Lepidoptera.eu, there are examples of forewings that are almost completely white... with black markings. Here, they are not so variable.

You will notice that apart from the example on the right, there is very little variation here.
Also... the darkest example has almost yellow hindwings...
rather than the egg-yolk yellow of the examples that follow.
The hindwings are rich egg-yolk yellow, with black spots....
Here are three examples.....




They also have a much more delta-winged shape than the Garden Tiger.

The nice delta-shape.... but not as delta-winged as the Jersey Tiger.



It has a wingspan of 55 to 68 millimetres
Normally nocturnal, the females fly by day.
It is found across the Western Palearctic...
and as far north as West Siberia and reaches North Africa and Southwest Asia.
It inhabits woodland, woodland edges and areas with bushes and hedges and sunny open grassy areas....and can be found resting on leaves.
These moths are most common in March to July, in meadows, grasslands, and scrubby areas.
The caterpillars hatch in late July, winter semi-underground or in deep leaf-litter and pupate May of the following year...they are quite sensitive to frost... often seen in the spring as they look for somewhere to pupate
They feed on low growing, non-woody plants...plantains, deadnettles, blackberries and dandelions, etc.


The Cream-spot Tiger is very photogenic from underneath...
the sub-marginal edge of the forewings and
the lead-edges of the hindwings are both red.
(for what Sub-marginal means see Susan's comment)


Next Monday... the Ruby Tiger....



________________________________________________________
Sources
Other than Wikipedia.... and personal observations!
Moths and Butterflies of Europe and North Africa [ also known as Leps.it]
A superbly illustrated site.... marvellous on the Micromoths...
but difficult to use on a tablet/iPad.... an awful lot of scrolling needed.

Lepidoptera.eu   An excellent resource... with distribution maps

UK Moths This is quite a simple site... but nicely put together.

The German site Lepiforum.de - For really good samples of photos...
including museum specimens: to use....
Enter the Latin name and then select the Latin name from the list of pages found.
There is probably a lot more on this site... but I don't read [or speak] German!!

6 comments:

Susan said...

'Leading edge': the leading edge of the forewings of the moth in your photo showing the underneath is black, not red. I'm mentioning this because leading edge colour can be a diagnostic for some species. Not tiger moths as far as I know, I'm thinking more of species with hyaline (transparent) wings such as dragonflies and flies, but my point is that you need to be clear and consistent if using these terms. The term for where the red is on the underside of the forewing would be sub-marginal.

Anyway, another great moth post, with great photos showing the variability and general cuteness of this species :-)

LaPré DelaForge said...

Thanks Susan... altered... and the post tidied up!!
I hadn't realised that one of the pix was hung left!!
MESSY!
I, as a mere biogeographer, don't think of things like "sub-marginal"...
I had noticed the black, but to me, that red is still on the leading edge of the wing...
and it probably is such to most of us lay-persons.

Also, please note, when I write a post....
it isn't... as opposed to yours...
necessarily going to be 100% accurate...
I am aiming to engender interest...
therefore write for the 8 to 16 year old person....
that is inside us all!
It is a standard teaching and interpretative approach...
really engaged people will follow through...
via Wiki, the links below, and their own discoveries....
mildly interested people will have had their eyes open to one of Nature's wonders and move on...
hopefully, more appreciative of what is around them.
A difference in approach that probably annoys the hell out of you... for that...je suis desolé!!

Sheila said...

Another wonderful Moth Post. Your photos are amazing...and your subjects seem quite willing to pose. You're definitely appealing to my 8 to 16 year old self. Do you have any shots of the trap with its captives before release? Looking forward to next Monday

LaPré DelaForge said...

Sheila.... the post of November 14th....the one before the Garden Tiger..... has pictures of both the borrowed trap and our less-powerful, more-compact version. The reason that so many of the subjects seem still is a combination of shutter speed on the camera... and the time of day.... the ones attracted to the windows at night tend to rest happily on the glass... the ones in the trap haven't warmed up...between 5.30 am and 7.30 am Central European Time... 'tis oft times rather chilly at those hours....which gives me time to get good pix.

Amelia Frenchgarden said...

Beautiful photographs. I can see how much I miss in the moth area. Amelia

LaPré DelaForge said...

Amelia, a sheet and a strong light shining on it...
a comfortable seat, a table with a glass of wine....
your camera.
That is really all you need to appreciate the wonderful, colourful world of moths.

And, in mozzie season, your beekeeper outfits!