Monday, 21 November 2016

Moth Mondays - The Garden Tiger

MOTH MONDAYS
The Garden Tiger
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Superfamily: Noctuoidea
Family: Erebidae
Tribe: Arctiini
Genus: Arctia
Species: Arctia caja



Possibly the most recognisable moth, the Garden Tiger [Arctia caja] l'Écaille-Martre can be seen day and night...
and the caterpillars, called woolly bears, are often seen in the open in Autumn.
Woolly bears needn't necessarily be the Garden Tiger...
all the Tigers have hairy caterpillars... and so do some other moths....
notably the Oak Eggar.
The hairs on all these larvae are irritant and can cause skin to blister in extreme cases.


This is a Garden Tiger Moth caterpillar....
 The forewing markings on the adults are quite variable...
but are almost always brown splodges on a white/cream background...
Chinery states that all brown forewings are found.

Seven examples of wing patterning from photos taken here....
the first is almost as per Chinery...
the third is the darkest I've seen....
the seventh is the lightest,

The hindwings are red or orange, occasionally yellow, with black spots....
here they seem more orangey/pale scarlet than any other colourway.
Three examples.....

These are the palest hindwings I have on record... [30/08/2015]
it also has the largest blobs... which are blueish in the centre!
A darker orange this time... [27/08/2012]
with dark black blobs....
the grey on them is a reflection of the flash!
[With the first example.... no flash was used.]
A pale scarlet with a golden fringe and smaller black blobs [27/08/2016]

It has a wingspan of 45 to 65 millimetres
Normally nocturnal, it will fly by day if disturbed.
It is found across the Palearctic.
It loves damp ground and is most frequent in river valleys.
These moths are most common in June to August, in gardens, park, meadows, grasslands, and scrubby areas.
The caterpillars hatch in August, winter semi-underground or in deep leaf-litter and pupate May/June of the following year.
They feed on low growing, non-woody plants.
In recent years another weapon may have been added to their defence armoury...
it has been discovered that some species of Tiger moths can emit sound at frequencies that jam a bat's echo-location.


Sitting pretty!
Next Monday... the Cream-spot 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!!

7 comments:

Susan said...

This is a great post and I am really looking forward to more like this. I'm going to link to this from LVN. The photos showing the range of patterning are great.

LaPré DelaForge said...

Just trying to do a similar set of wings for next Monday's Cream-spot... but it will be whole moths... cropping those wings out and getting them all the same took FAR too long!
There are other things in life....even when the weather is iffy!

Kerry said...

Just curious, are these recent photos, which are fantastic. I ask because are these beautiful moths around to see in the garden now?

LaPré DelaForge said...

Kerry, no, they are not recent... the "flight period"...ie, when you are most likely to see them is from mid-June to the end of August.... but weather conditions often alter this...earlier hatchings means an earlier finish...a late hatching will result on them being around longer.
They don't feed after hatching...they are just beautiful egg-laying machines.

LaPré DelaForge said...

Also, Kerry, the pictures are from a number of years...
As will almost all the pictures of moths in this series.

Amelia Frenchgarden said...

I look forward to learning more about the moths. I have never seen one like this near here. The only Tiger moth I have seen here is the Jersey. Amelia

Kerry said...

Thanks for the info, I will look out for them next year.