Saturday, 19 May 2018

Ruby Tiger Moth

I have kept an eagle eye out for moths ever since our encounter with the Red Underwing at Oxburgh Hall. That particular insect made me realise how much there is to these shy insects in terms of hidden colour as you will see if you click here. And then today I found what I think may be a young Ruby Tiger moth nestling in the lawn on our home patch. I may, of course, be quite wrong in my identification, but my guess has now been endorsed on iSpot. Please enlighten me if you think I am barking up the wrong tree!

My poetry chapbook, The Holy Place, (published by The Seventh Quarry and co-authored with John Dotson - details here) contains a short poem about the larva of the Isabella Tiger moth (Pyrrharctia isabella), which is often referred to as a woolly bear. Up until now I have never knowingly seen a Tiger Moth of any variety, so I count today as a bit of a red-letter day, particularly since the insect in my photos was spotted right here in our garden.

Our lawn has not be mown for a few days which has given these yellow dandelion-like flowers Mouse-ear Hawkweed heads (thank you, Conehead, for your ID) a chance to flourish. One year they seemed to be the magnet for some Skipper butterflies, and this year I suspect they may be partly responsible for the presence of the new moth.

I have studied the photo below as best I can (it isn't the best of photos for identification purposes), and am assuming that the usual spot (or spots) on the forewings has (or have) yet to develop.

What caught my eye were the bright rose shades on the hindwings as the moth flew towards the grass. Sadly these remain tucked away in my photos, unlike the 'fur' on the thorax, but you can see what they look like here. This species is not rare and may well be a familiar species to you. It is new to me (whatever if is!), and I hope you will share my joy!


Conehead54 said...

Lovely moth. Your flowers are Mouse-ear Hawkweed.

Caroline Gill said...

Thank you so much, Conehead - much appreciated.