The garden tiger moth
) is a moth
of the Arctiidae
It has a wingspan of . The design of the wings varies: the front wings are brown with a white pattern (which can however be missing), the back wings orange with a pattern of black dots. The conspicuous patterns serve as a warning to predators, because the moth's body fluids are poisonous. Its effects are not yet fully known, but they contain quantities of choline esters
which are neurotoxic
by interfering with the acetylcholine receptor
. The colours are also ideal for frightening predators
such as small birds
: the moth normally hides its hindwings under the cryptic
forewings when resting. If a threat is perceived, the moth quickly shows its red colour and flies away. In this way, it successfully confuses and warns off the predator.
The garden tiger moth is found throughout Europe
as far north as Lapland
, in Asia
, and in North America
. In the mountains this species is found up to an elevation of . The garden tiger moth loves damp places, which is why it is particularly common in river valleys as well as gardens and parks. The moth is nocturnal
and can usually only be seen flying around a source of light. The distinctively coloured, long-haired caterpillar
, on the other hand, is seen more frequently. It can grow up to long and plays dead when in danger. These moths are most common in June to August, in gardens, park, meadows, grasslands, and scrubby areas.
On August 28, 2007, the new......