The Great Tiger Moth is large, boldly patterned and more closely resembles a giraffe than its namesake.
One would never expect a moth with the name Tiger to have colors and a pattern more like a giraffe's. Because of its large size, it is Great. Because the Great Tiger Moth is a member of the Tiger moth family, which has loads of brightly patterned and colorful members, it is also called a Tiger. The Great Tiger Moth is very cold hardy and widespread in Canada as well as the bordering U.S. states, seldom venturing south of the Great Lakes region or New England.
Their larvae (caterpillars) are quite dull by comparison to the adult form. Caterpillar underbellies are a rich chestnut brown with spiky hairs, while their dorsal (back) side is a charcoal gray-black, covered with long, thin bristles or hairs. They feed on a wide variety of plant leaves from weeds, shrubs, and trees. After a summer of feeding, they will hibernate over winter.
Both adults and larvae can be found in arboreal forests. Adult moths are attracted to lights at night, so they may also be seen in backyards, parking lots and other areas with artificial lighting. They are a medium-sized moth and can be handled with care.
Scientific Name: Arctia caja
Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 50mm to 70mm (1.95in to 2.73in)
Colors: brown, white, orange, blue, black
Descriptors: flying, leopard, giraffe, colorful, furry, hairy, large
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.
Butterfly and Moth Anatomy
Antennae: Butterflies and Moths have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and proboscis.
Thorax: Home to the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
Abdomen: Contains vital internal organs such as the heart(s) and reproduction facilities.
Forewing: The upper, forward wing pair used for flying.
Hindwing: The lower, rearward wing pair used for flying.
NOTE: Butterflies and Moths are part of the Lepidopteran order as they share many similarities.