Cinnabar moths (Tyria jacobaeae) have been reported from the reserve in the past week.
At this time of year cinnabar moth females are looking for ragwort: they lay their eggs on the underside of the leaves and their tiger-striped caterpillars, mob handed, will defoliate the whole plant before moving on to the next one.
We fight a constant battle against ragwort but are quite happy that there is enough left to attract cinnabar moths, one of the eleven UK BAP Priority Species of Lepidoptera resident in the reserve.
Header image: Cinnabar moth by Charles J. Sharp (CC BY-SA 4.0) Wikimedia Commons
I see cinnabar moths in my garden every year, they are very pretty.
The moths ARE pretty but I like the caterpillars best; they are absolutely single minded about the business of eating ragwort.
Yes, I saw the caterpillars a few years back, quite something.