Cinnabar caterpillars

I have been walking around the village over the last few weeks looking at the bright yellow flowers of ragweed plants . There is not a lot of it around this year. More specifically I have been looking for some caterpillars that feed on the plant. And at last I have spotted what I was looking for – the vivid orange and black stripes of Cinnabar larvae (Tyria jacobaeae) munching away. Only the two specimens so far but I will keep on looking. Surprisingly these develop into black and red winged adult moths without a speck of orange.

Cinnabar Moth

There are not so many splashes of bright yellow-flowered ragwort around as in some previous years. I have found one small group of plants beside a wheat field. The other day there were several small black and red moths fluttering nearby. Mostly they were elusively moving and resting deep in the shady undergrowth and only fleetingly appearing in clear view of sunlit spots. It was very difficult to get a good shot. But here are a few pictures of the Cinnabar Moth (Tyria jacobaeae). It lays its eggs on Ragwort, and later I am sure to find some of its distinctive caterpillars eating the nearby flowers.

Cinnabar Caterpillar

If you look carefully at the bright yellow flowers of Ragwort at this time of year, you might be lucky enough to find the orange and black banded caterpillars of the Cinnabar Moth (Tyria jacobaeae). The adult moth has a different colour scheme but none the less striking with its black and red patterned wings.