Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Day 301 - Resplendent Ruby Tiger Moths

Ruby Tiger Moth (Phragmatobia fuliginosa)
Hi all, Day 301 and after a lovely couple of raptors I was wondering what to do to follow that. One of the wonderful things about nature though is that there are so many amazing creatures out there of all shapes and sizes that it didn't take me long looking through my photo's to find a nice subject.

This is another great find from when I was at Nosterfield Local Nature Reserve open day. I don't know if I've ever described the area where I live. I live in a huge vale, the Vale of Mowbray which sits between two beautiful national parks, the North York Moors and the Yorkshire Dales. Running through the vale are beautiful rivers and this might be why there is so much sand and gravel around. If it wasn't here then Nosterfield Local Nature Reserve wouldn't be there as the reserve is on the site of an old quarry. It's also near a really fantastic set of henges which are really special - Thornbrough Henges.

This was a beauty of a moth
Anyway, today's species was one of the more colourful moths that we found when emptying the moth traps, the Ruby Tiger Moth!

So I did my research and here's what I found:

  • They seem to be common all over Britain, being most common in the South. They don't seem to like Ireland as much though.
  • Habitats that they like are mostly open habitats like lowland, heathland, moorland, woodland clearings, sand-dunes, gardens and water meadows. Nosterfield has most of these.
  • Their caterpillar looks quite spiky and fluffy so my advice is not to touch them as they could irritate your skin.
  • They are mostly the same colour as the adults (see below) except for the yellow stripe that the caterpillar has on its back.
The Black dots are very clear here
  • The Ruby Tiger Moth is ruby (no surprise there then). it does have two black spots on its back-wings as well though.
  • In the South there are two broods, one in April and June with the other in August and September.
  • In the North, though, there is but one brood, just in June, this'll explain why they are more common down South.
  • They have a 30mm - 35mm wingspan so, in moth terms, they are about medium sized. 
  • The Larvae are Polyphagous, meaning that they can feed on different types of food plants, mostly on a number of herbaceous plants, like plantains, dandelions, ragworts and docks
This shows it colour and wonderful furry head
  • Ruby Tiger Moths are nocturnal, and are attracted to light at night hence how we got them in the traps.
Here are a few links to some more information:

Hope you enjoyed,