UPDATE 2! Garden Tiger Moth – Arctia caja

We thought it would be nice for a final word (perhaps!) on the Garden Tiger Moth caterpillars we previously blogged about. Picking up from where we left off (13th August), the caterpillars continued to happily munch their way through Green Alkanet and Bind Weed.

Later that day a flesh fly came visiting. It is of course wrong to anthropomorphise, but it was hard not to assign a distinct level of confusion to this lone dipteran visitor, who seemed to taste the caterpillars (via his taste sensitive feet) before deciding they were of no use and buzzed off…

The weather turned a little, especially between the 15th and the 19th August and we welcomed one or two heavy downpours. When we next checked on the caterpillars (20th August) they were initially nowhere to be seen. Our concern being they had been washed away by the rains, predated on, or perhaps both. However after a while we did start to find a few stragglers, some in rather unusual places. Such as this little fella out on the pond looking a smidge lost…

20th August 2022

We felt obliged to rescue the poor fella. Whether it actually wanted to be saved is another matter. We relocated him to a fresh patch of Green Alkanet and off he went, soggy but now at least on terra firma…

20th August 2022

Unfortunately not all the larva we found seemed in good condition. The specimen in the video below appears to have something frustrating it, perhaps some form of mite on its rear or some other parasite. We dashed off to get a macro lens to have a look but found no sign of the little fella when we got back…

The following guy didn’t seem to need saving at all, having found another species of plant to munch on. A young buddleia in this case, a large meal unto itself, we decided to leave it be…

20th August 2022

We continued to look for any larva that needed help and finding none we thought ‘Oh well!’ Picking up our copy of Great Britain’s Hoverflies to head inside, we were surprised to find three more of the guys crawling all over the book. Where these particular guys came from we have no idea, but off to the Green Alkanet patch they went…

20th August 2022

It’s the 28th August as we write this and there are no signs of the caterpillars anywhere, including the Green Alkanet patch we used for relocation. Fingers crossed some will make it and we will find latter stage larva elsewhere in the garden over the coming weeks.

DC: 28/08/2022

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