Lepidoptera The Wood Tiger Moth – Nemeophila Plantaginis

The Cheloniida are popularly known as the Tigers-a title suggested by the tiger-like colouring of some of the prominent species. They differ from the Scarlet Tiger and the other members of the Eucheliida in that the males have ciliated or fringed antenna. The larva, too, are more densely covered with hair.

The Wood Tiger (fig. 2, Moth PhotosPlate X) is a beautiful insect, somewhat variable in its markings, but so conspicuously coloured that our illustration cannot fail to lead to its identification. It may be found commonly among the undergrowth of our southern woods during May and June.

The caterpillar is dark brown or brownish black, covered with little hair-bearing warts. The hairs are long and black on the foremost and hind segments, but shorter and of a brown colour on the middle of the body. It issues from the egg in September, feeds for a week or two on the leaves of violets (Viola canina and V. odorata), heartsease (V. tricolor), plantain (Plantago), or groundsel (Senecio vulgaris), and then hybernates till the following March. It is fully grown in May, and then spins a light cocoon, with which its hairs are interwoven, among the leaves of its food plant.