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Thread: Garden Tiger status

  1. #1

    Default Garden Tiger status

    Hi All

    Nice picture of a Garden Tiger taken in Lybster on the main page of so I thought that I would add a note about the current status of the species.

    This used to be a very common species throughout the UK, known as much for its "woolly bear" caterpillars as for the adult moth. However, since the 1970s it has suffered a serious decline as the following graph shows:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    In much of England it is now an unusual or even rare species. One contact of mine describes them as "like hens' teeth" in Essex. The cause appears to be directly attributable to climate change. The species overwinters as a caterpillar and requires cold relatively dry winters. The long run of mild wet winters over the last few decades has led to increased disease and fungal attacks on the wintering caterpillars and the survival rate has plummeted.

    Conditions in the Far North of Scotland have remained more to Garden Tigers liking and it is still a common species in Caithness with the adult on the wing from late June to early August with peak numbers in mid-July. My maximum catch at a light trap this year has been 22 in one night - all released alive and well the following morning.

    So we are still fortunate to have this lovely moth in good numbers in Caithness, but unfortunately the RSPB are correct in saying that there has been a massive decline nationally.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Your nightmares!


    The photo you speak of was sent in by me, this is the first year I have ever seen this particular moth but have already seen several so far which is why I was surprised to hear their numbers were declining.
    Thank you for adding this information, I certainly hope the Garden tiger moth continues to thrive here
    Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2002


    Not seen any this year but live in hope. Always used to leave a few nettles in the garden for them when south. Been a strange year for moths and butterflies but delighted to see a few of the latter on the wing these last couple of weeks.

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