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Scarlet Tiger Moth - Callimorpha dominula

Phylum: Arthropoda - Class: Insecta - Order: Lepidoptera - Family: Erebidae

Scarlet Tiger Moth, wings closed

Description

This strikingly beautiful day-flying moth has a wingspan of 4.5 to 5.5cm and its colours are very variable; however, it is not difficult to identify because its wing patterning is quite distinctive. The black areas of the wings often have a greenish tinge.

Scarlet Tiger Moth, wings spread

Distribution

In Britain the Scarlet Tiger Moth occurs in greatest numbers in south and south-west England and in the south and west of Wales, but there are localised populations in East Anglia and parts of north-west England.

A pair of Scarlet Tiger Moths.

Above: a pair of Scarlet Tiger Moths in our West Wales garden

Lifecycle

From eggs laid in June and July, hairy black-and-yellow caterpillars emerge and feed until winter arrives, at which time they are about 1.5 cm long. The caterpillars feed on a wide variety of plants including Common Comfrey Symphytum officinale, Stinging Nettle Urtica dioica, and Hemp Agrimony Eupatorium cannabinum. The Scarlet Tiger Moth overwinters in this larval state. In the following March the caterpillars re-emerge and continue feeding, eventually growing up to 4.5cm in length before pupating. After about a month inside the crysalis, the adult Scarlet Tiger emerges in late spring/early summer, and adults can be seen on the wing from late May, through June and into July. This is a day-flying moth and its striking colours make it very easy to spot.

Scarlet Tiger, southern England

Acknowledgements

This page includes pictures kindly contributed by Simon Harding.

Studying butterflies and moths...


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