The Garden Tiger
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....|
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.
|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.
SourcesOther 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!!