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Painted Tiger Moth (Arachnis picta)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Painted Tiger Moth

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Image Credit: Marc B. Face Canyon, UT
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Painted Tiger Moths showcase hot pink colors in regions that usually cook under the heat from the sun.

Updated: 07/07/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Painted Tiger Moths are part of a bold and attractive, and somewhat large, moth family. This species is no exception. The dense marbled pattern on its forewings makes a great cover for the bright, rosy hindwings that are visible when the moth is resting with wings spread or in flight. Even its upper legs show off that lively shade of pink. The Painted Tiger Moth is at home in the North American southwest and can be seen in arid chaparral as well as open fields. Its colors are reflected in desert habitat, from sandy river beds to cactus blossoms.

Eggs are shiny and oblong shaped. Larvae hatch in the spring and nibble at the foliage of low-growing plants. Caterpillars are black with blots of rusty-orange on the body where tufts of bristles grow. They are mostly active at night, when their natural coloring offers decent camouflage. Adult moths do not eat. They emerge in the summer and are active well into autumn.

General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Hairy insect icon
Striped or banded insect icon


Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Erebidae
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          Genus: Arachnis
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            Species: picta
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Arachnis picta
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 39mm to 50mm (1.53" to 1.96")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: yellow, black, pink, red, white, orange
Descriptors: blotch, wavy, lined, striped, flying, furry, hairy

Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 39mm (1.5in) and 50mm (2.0in)
Lo: 39mm
Md: 44.5mm
Hi: 50mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Painted Tiger Moth may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Painted Tiger Moth. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.


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