Ruby tiger moth
Another expedition into the reserve’s species lists has produced a ruby tiger moth (Phragmatobia fuliginosa) found and identified in the summer of 2021 by our lepidopterist, Hugo Brooke. This is a common day-flying moth, its adult stage so short lived, that it doesn’t feed; its only purpose is to mate and lay eggs on the ragwort, plantain, dock or dandelions on the edge of our woodland.
At this time of year, the ruby tiger is overwintering as a caterpillar, at ground level, among the leaf litter. Its blood contains a natural antifreeze which will have protected it through our recent sub-zero cold snap.