Lepidoptera The Tiger Moth – Arctia Caia

This splendid moth is exceedingly variable in its colour and markings, but its usual appearance corresponds closely with that of the illustration on Moth PhotosPlate X (fig. 3). In some specimens the cream colour almost entirely covers the fore wings, while in others all four of the wings are completely covered with shades of brown. This insect is probably known to all my readers, for it is abundant everywhere.

The larva is as well known as the perfect insect. It is a kind of universal feeder, partaking readily of almost every low-growing plant, with perhaps a special partiality for dead nettles (Lamium album and L. purpureum). It feeds also on the lime tree (Tilia vulgaris), and is commonly met with on apple trees and on the various plants of our flower beds. The young caterpillar makes its appearance in the autumn, and hybernates after feeding for two or three weeks only. It is full grown in June, when it spins a silken cocoon, and changes to a shiny black chrysalis.

The ground colour of the larva is black, but it is covered all over with long hairs, those down the middle of the back being grey, and the others brown. This familiar larva is known popularly as the Woolly Bear.