Other Common Names
Garden Tiger (adult in Europe)
Woolly Bear (larva in Europe)
Black Woolly Bear (larva)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Arctia caja – (Linnaeus, 1758)
6 synonyms listed:
Arctia auripennis; erinacea; orientalis; phaeosoma; sajana; wiskotti
originally placed in genus Phalaena by Linnaeus in 1758
Adult: forewing chocolate brown with irregular mosaic pattern of white lines and spots; hindwing yellow to orangish with large dark blue spots outlined in black
Larva: black on top, brownish-orange below, with 4 white lateral spots on each segment; body completely covered by hair, with mix of very long black hairs and some white hairs dorsally
holartic: in North America, occurs from Labrador and Nova Scotia to New York, west to Minnesota, and across southern Canada to British Columbia, plus south in the west to Colorado, Utah, Nevada, northern California
occurs throughout Eurasia
woods, shrubby areas, open spaces, gardens
adults fly from June to September; July and August in the north
larvae present from spring to June, and again in fall
larvae feed on a wide variety of woody and herbaceous plants - see list of species
one generation per year; overwinters as a larva
Life cycle images
1)larva eating Bracken fern 2)larva eating spirea 3)adult 4) cocoon and spent pupal case
This species, formerly common throughout the UK, has steadily declined over the past 20 years, with numbers falling by around 30%. There has been a general movement away from the south and toward the north, with climate change believed to be a contributing factor. Warm, wet winters and warm springs are followed by a decrease in the number of tiger moths the following summer (Conrad et al, 2002).
Arctia caja was a favourite with early European collectors, who selectively bred it to create unusual colours and forms.
St. Lawrence Tiger Moth
) forewing lacks complete white lines, and hindwing lacks dark spots (compare images
of both species at CBIF)
Conrad K.F., I.P. Woiwod, and J.N. Perry. 2002. Long-term decline in abundance and distribution of the garden tiger moth (Arctia caja) in Great Britain. Biological Conservation, 106(3) 329-337.
Lafontaine JD, Schmidt BC (2010) Annotated check list of the Noctuoidea (Insecta, Lepidoptera) of North America North of Mexico. (1)
Moth Photographers Group
- range map, photos of living and pinned adults.
BOLD - Barcode of Life Data Systems
- species account with collection map and photos of pinned adults.
live adult and larva images
by various photographers, plus note on declining numbers, and other info (Ian Kimber, UK Moths)
live adult, larva, and pupa images
plus foodplant list (Moths and Butterflies of Europe and North Africa)
common names in 8 countries
plus images of all life stages, list of foodplants, world range map, list of subspecies with distribution and synonyms, and links to other sites (Markku Savela, FUNET)
US distribution map
distribution in Canada
list of provinces (U. of Alberta, using CBIF data)