Garden Tiger Moth - Western Isles - Hebrides Insects

Garden Tiger Moth

Garden Tiger Moth - Western Isles
Arctia caja

Garden Tiger Moth - Moth Sightings in the Hebrides - The Garden Tiger moth - Arctia caja.

The garden tiger moth's forewings are a chocolate brown with cream patterns and its hindwings are an orange red occasionally yellow with black spots which have deep-blue centres.

This moth is commonly found in The Western Isles - Scotland although it is decreasing in some parts of the UK.

It flies mainly at night but is often found during the day, so it can be mistaken for a butterfly.

The garden tiger moth gets its name from the tiger-like stripes on their forewings. The conspicuous tiger like patterns serve as a warning to predators, because the moth's body fluids are poisonous

Wingspan approximately 65mm.

Caterpillars - Woolly Bear

The garden tiger moth caterpillars are brown and black and are very hairy - hence it is often called a 'woolly bear'. The hairs are irritant and protect it from predators, such as birds. Garden tigers over winter as caterpillars. The garden tiger moth produces - from April to June a brood of fat, black, hairy caterpillars. The hairs on the back are long and white, underlain by shorter black ones, while those along the side are reddish. The caterpillars can often be seen on leaves in the spring, or searching for pupation sites. They feed on a wide variety of wild and garden plants.

This garden tiger moth caterpillars feed on plants like docks, dandelion, stinging nettles and brambles, sunflowers and hollyhocks. Scares Off Predators To deter predators the garden tiger moth makes a rasping noise - it rubs its wings together to do this. If this isn't frightening off the predator it gives off a drop of bright yellow blood from its thorax.

Moths Closely Related to Butterflies
Moths are closely related to butterflies - people are often under the illusion that throughout the Scotland and the Uk that there are more butterflies than moths - however there are actually about 60 species of butterfly to be seen throughout the UK as opposed to 2500 species of moths. Moths can be seen all the year round including the winter months

Life Cycle - Egg - Pupa - Adult
The life cycle of a moth consists of an egg, caterpillar, pupa, and then the adult moth. Some species of moths live as adults for only a few days, while others live for many months and hibernate over the winter. Some live as caterpillars for 3 to 4 years.

Animal Food Source - Pollination
Moths are a vital food source for many other animals - many birds eat moths - and some species of moths are important pollinators.

Moths Vision

Moths see very differently from us. they can see ultraviolet rays (which are invisible to humans).

Moths Hearing
Butterflies and moths hear sounds through their wings.

Study of Moths
The study of moths is called - 'lepidoptery'

Johnstons Organ
Butterflies and moths both have an organ - the Johnston's organ which is at the base of their antennae. This organ is responsible for maintaining the butterfly or moths sense of balance and orientation, especially during flight.

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