Credit Nick Goodrum 1/4
Cinnabar caterpillar, Syderstone Common, Graham Hope 2/4
Cinnabar moth caterpillars, Bradwell, Pat Adams 3/4
Cinnabar caterpillar, Thornham Dyke, Gilly Chapman 4/4

Cinnabar moth Tyria jacobaeae

This night flier is easily recognisable due to its bright red spots and stripes on the grey/black forewings, and hind wings of scarlet with charcoal edging. The caterpillars are jet black with yellow/orange stripes. The cinnabar moth can be found in open places from May to August.

Conservation status

It is reported that cinnabar moth numbers have fallen by 83% in the last 35 years. Many factors may be responsible for this decline including the possible control of its food plant.

Related questions & advice

What is the difference between moths and butterflies?


Did you know?

As the caterpillars feed on poisonous ragwort leaves, their body stores the alkaloid poison and passes this on through to chrysalis and finally to the moth. Predators such as birds that don’t heed their colourful warning soon, learn how distasteful they are to eat!

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