Nature Notes: Tiger! Tiger!

The Jersey Tiger moth

The Jersey Tiger moth

First published in Nature Notes Streatham Guardian: Photograph of the Author by

There was a time up until about ten years ago when upon opening my front door late on a warm summer's evening, I would be greeted by a medley of moths of many species and sizes fluttering around my porch light.

Sadly this is no longer the case and I'm fortunate nowadays if I see one or maybe two tiny micro-moths. There are several reasons both known and unknown for a steep decline in the fortunes of moths which is worrying as they are valuable pollinators of flowers, especially at night.

There are in fact more species of day-flying moths in Britain than butterflies but they too have suffered this summer.

However, on a much brighter note, one of our most colourful moths, namely the Jersey Tiger (pictured) until very recently confined to the Channel Islands and southern coastal fringes of Devon and Cornwall is beginning to spread northwards,probably as a result of climate change.

There are even reports of a small colony in London and during a warm weekend in late August a Jersey Tiger was spotted in a Wimbledon garden and another in Regents Park, both exciting sightings.

Caterpillars of the beautiful moth feed on a range of low-growing plants such as stinging nettles and bramble so there is ample scope for the moth to colonise even further inland.

Anyone who positively identifies a Jersey Tiger can contact Butterfly Conservation or to enable them to add the insect to their database.

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