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Species Arctia caja - Great Tiger Moth - Hodges#8166

tiger moth caterpillar? - Arctia caja . - Arctia caja Arctia caja - male caterpillar - Arctia caja Great Tiger Moth - Arctia caja Erebidae: Arctia caja? - Arctia caja Moth ID - Arctia caja Great tiger moth? - Arctia caja - female
Show images of: caterpillars · adults · both
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
Superfamily Noctuoidea (Owlet Moths and kin)
Family Erebidae
Subfamily Arctiinae (Tiger and Lichen Moths)
Tribe Arctiini (Tiger Moths)
Subtribe Arctiina
Genus Arctia
Species caja (Great Tiger Moth - Hodges#8166)
Hodges Number
Other Common Names
Garden Tiger (adult in Europe)
Woolly Bear (larva in Europe)
Black Woolly Bear (larva)
Écaille martre - En français… Ilze V-G.
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Arctia caja (Linnaeus, 1758)
Phalaena caja Linnaeus, 1758
Synonyms listed:
Arctia auripennis; erinacea; orientalis; phaeosoma; sajana; wiskotti
Wingspan 45-70 mm.
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 including:
Allium schoenoprasum, Betula spp., B. verrucosa, Alnus incana, Salix spp., S. caprea, S. cinerea, Populus tremula, Rheum rhaponticum, Sedum telephium, Ribes spp., R. uva-crispa, R. alpinum, R. rubrum, Fragaria ananassa, Rubus idaeus, Filipendula ulmaria, Spiraea salicifolia, Malus domestica, Sorbus aucuparia, Crataegus coccinea, Prunus padus, P. domestica, Prunus nana, Geum rivale, Trifolium spp., Vaccinium myrtillus, V. uliginosum, Calystegia sepium, Stachys sylvatica, Lamium album, Plantago sp., Achillea millefolium, Taraxacum sp. (FUNET)
Life Cycle
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.
See Also
St. Lawrence Tiger Moth (Platarctia parthenos) forewing lacks complete white lines, and hindwing lacks dark spots (compare images of both species at CBIF)
Print References
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)