Garden tiger moth
by Ian Bushell
David Feather found the caterpillar of a Garden Tiger Moth in the heritage orchard.
Garden Tiger caterpillars are hairy and known as “Woolly Bears” and can be seen from August to late the following June. The hairs provide protection as they are irritating to any predator.
The caterpillars feed on a wide variety of plants from Nettles and Dock leaves to ferns. They were common but declining in numbers now, especially in the South East UK, thought to be from spraying and generally tidying up of the countryside. As an adult moth it is large and brightly coloured which acts as a warning to say that it is unpalatable.
This is a new species in the park; I have now added it [Arctia caja] to the species list
Conservation status: Priority Species under the UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework.