Bird's Eye View of Bute

The Ruby Tiger Moth

(1) Ruby Tiger Moth
(1) Ruby Tiger Moth
(2) Ruby Tiger Moth
(2) Ruby Tiger Moth
(3) Ruby Tiger Moth
(3) Ruby Tiger Moth
(4) Ruby Tiger Moth
(4) Ruby Tiger Moth
(5) Ruby Tiger Moth
(5) Ruby Tiger Moth

 

 

The Ruby Tiger Moth.

This delightful little moth 18-20mm or ¾ of an inch is one the most colourful ones that I have found on Bute during my travels around our country roads. I say roads as most of the ones that I find have been hit with vehicles on our fast roads (50mph max), and if I get on these roads early enough I may find some of them or other species before they get squashed out of recognition.


Most of them will be night fliers, like this one, but have been known to fly by day, but this is probably during the middle of summer when there is very little darkness, and they have to feed no matter what light is about. This is the case of this one that you see, as it was not hit, but flying about with seemingly not a care in the world, and was not upset even when I let it walk onto my hand for a photo shoot, and indeed it was in no hurry to fly away, so I let it onto a plant, and it was not fussed at all.

This was on June 2009 and had probably just emerged from its cocoon, and was not really compos mentis, so give it time and it will soon be on its way by evening, that’s if it is not scoffed by a bird or something else, but as it is very brightly coloured, it may signify that it does not taste very good, so it may be left alone.
The next one that I found was not until two years later and it was beside the gate from my house and was dead, for what reasons I do not know, as traffic move slowly here so its death remains a mystery, but it was still a record albeit not a live one, but still a useful record. A few years ago I found the Fore Wing of another moth that flies during the daylight hours. Just a wing but that is enough to say that this species is here on Bute, and was added to the record books

Next one was lying on the West road near the quarry entrance, but was not dead, but not in a very good mood. That’s maybe because it may have been hit by a vehicle, or caught in the cars downdraft which can make it hit the ground with a thump, so I took a photo of it then carefully lifted it and put it inside a hedge onto a fairly large leaf that may protect it until it regains its faculties?
My book says that they are widespread and fairly common, but as I am on the lookout nearly 24/7 and I have only found them on three occasions so, that, as far as I am concerned are not too common here on Bute.
Altogether they are lovely wee moths which appear May-June with sometimes a second brood during August, and as they are that small they can be easily overlooked, more so if they are upside down, but you never know your luck and don’t be afraid of it as it will not harm you, and admire it’s fantastic colour.

Norrie Mulholland

First published in the Buteman 19-10-2012

 


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