Cinnabar Moth: Jacobs poison





The cinnabar moth (Tyria jacobaeae) is a member of the tiger-moth family that flies late at night but you do frequently see them during the day, they are easily disturbed. They fly from late May until July and the caterpillars will appear on common ragwort (Scenecio jacobaea) in August so little wonder that the cinnabar moth is named Tyria jacobaeae; the Tyria of the common ragwort.
The adult moth is a fantastic metallic black and red colour and the caterpillars are the familar yellow and brown hooped caterpillars that feed on, and entirely strip, ragwort plants in late summer. Ragwort is a plant poisonous to cattle and the insect takes up that poison which makes them decidedly unpalatable to birds and other predators giving some immunity to attack. However, our modern day obsession with ragwort pulling means they are not as common as they once were.


Cinnabar Moth: Jacobs poison

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