Scarlet Tiger Callimorpha dominula

Erebidae » Arctiinae

Scarlet Tiger Callimorpha dominula

This is a wonderfully bright coloured day-flying moth which I came across on a walk along my local canal. It is quite an unmistakable species with creamy-white and yellowish spots on a black iridescent forewing. The hindwings are reddish with black spots, but other rare forms have yellow hindwings. The forewing pattern is variable. Wingspan 45 to 55mm. Similar to the Cream-spot Tiger (Arctia villica).

Scarlet Tiger Callimorpha dominula

Scarlet Tiger Callimorpha dominula

The adult flies June to July. Found in damp places such a fens, marshes, around pools, river banks, and on cliffs near the sea. A locally common species in southern and central England and southern Wales.

Scarlet Tiger Callimorpha dominula caterpillar

I found this distinctive caterpillar feeding on Common Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) on a walk along a local woodland margin. This is quite a bright and colourful caterpillar with a black body, and with a wide creamy-yellow stripe running along the centre of its back and down either side of its body. It is 35mm long, covered in spiny tufts of short hair, and the head is shiny black.

The Scarlet Tiger overwinters as a larva, and can be seen quite openly feeding by day mainly in early spring in bright sunshine. It feeds on a wide range of herbaceous plants, including Common Nettle, Bramble and especially associated with Common Comfrey (Symphytum officinale).

Adult photographs taken in July 2013, on local canal, and larva in May 2012, on a local woodland margin, Staffordshire, England.