Great Tiger Moth (Arctia caja)
Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Great Tiger Moth.
Updated: 8/7/2014; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
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 coloration more in line with a giraffe. The Great Tiger Moth is a member of the Tiger moth family, which boasts brightly patterned and colorful members. Because of its large size, it is Great. The Great Tiger Moth is cold hardy and is widespread in Canada and 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. Their underbellies are a rich chestnut brown with spiky hairs, while their dorsal side ("back") 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.