GARDEN TIGER MOTH (Arctia caja) - no photographer listed
One of the most attractive of all British insects, once well-known for its hairy “woolly bear” caterpillars, the garden tiger moth has declined spectacularly, falling in numbers by 89 per cent in the past 30 years
The garden tiger moth is a moth of the Arctiidae family.
- The design of the wings varies: the front wings are brown with a white pattern (which can however be missing), the back wings orange with a pattern of black dots.
- The conspicuous patterns serve as a warning to predators, because the moth’s body fluids are toxic.
- Its effects are not yet fully known, but they contain quantities of choline esters which are neurotoxic by interfering with the acetylcholine receptor.
- The colours are also ideal for frightening predators such as small birds: the moth normally hides its hindwings under the cryptic forewings when resting.
- If a threat is perceived, the moth quickly shows its red colour and flies away. In this way, it successfully confuses and warns off the predator.
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