Scientific name: Arctia caja
Flies July to August and comes to light.
If disturbed the moth displays its orange hindwings with blue-black spots and can produce a clear yellow fluid from two ducts just behind the head.
The larvae can be seen from August to late the following June. The larvae are hairy and known as the "Woolly Bear". They sometimes feed and bask in sunshine and may be seen moving rapidly across bare ground when fully grown. They pupate in a thin cocoon among vegetation on or near the ground.
Size and Family
- Family – Tiger moths, ermines, footman moths and allies (Arctiidae)
- Medium / Large Sized
- Wingspan Range – 50-78mm
- UK BAP: Priority species (research only)
Caterpillar Food Plants
A wide variety of herbaceous plants, including Common Nettle (Urtica dioica), Broad-leaved Dock (Rumex obtusifolius), Water Dock (Rumex hydrolapathum), burdocks (Arctium spp.), Hounds's-tongue (Cynoglossum officinale) and many garden plants.
A wide range of generally rather open habitats, including gardens, damp meadows, fens, riverbanks, sand-dunes and open woodland.
- Countries – England, Wales, Scotland
- Well distributed over much of Britain. In most areas it has decreased significantly since 1980s, most noticeably in the south-east. Decline may be a result of spraying of weedy areas and the general tidying of hedgerows. Recently statistical evidences also indicates a link between lower numbers of adults and mild, wet Januarys followed by colder weather in February.
- Distribution Trend Since 1970’s = Britain: Declining