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This year tiger moths are the featured insects for National Moth Week in 2017.

Tiger and Tussock moths - Family Erebidae

The tiger moths and tussock are a diverse group and they names are in flux. In the past, the tiger moths belonged to a separate family, the Arctiidae. Now they are grouped with the Tussock moths in the family Erebidae.

The most consistent characteristic of this family is that they hold their hairy front legs outstretched when they are at rest.

Many of the subfamilies have striped or spotted wings.

The caterpillars are hairy or fuzzy.

The banded woolly bear is a tiger moth caterpillar.

hickory-tussock-moth-1This is a hickory tussock moth. See its outstretched front legs?

hickoy-tussock-moth-caterpillarTussock moth caterpillars are also hairy.

Activity suggestions:

  1. Add your tiger moth photographs to the Project Noah moth mission page and check out what others have found.
  2. Learn about the Cinnabar Moth (a type of tiger moth) at the National Moth Week blog.
  3. Download the moth coloring book (link on the Kids Page) and color the tiger moth on page 3.

National Moth Week starts today, July 22, and runs through 30, 2017.  It is a great opportunity to investigate moths, as well as to begin to appreciate their unique strengths and beauty.


Looking for ideas for information and activity ideas to celebrate moths? Check out the older posts linked below and also look for new posts about suggested activities with moths coming up throughout the week.

Older Moth Posts

Posts from this week:

If you ever want to learn more about moths, check out the moths category in the sidebar.

Or visit our growing list of children's books about moths and butterflies at Science Books for Kids.

This empty pupa says it all.

Our little green caterpillar from past posts has revealed his identity. He is a male bougainvillea caterpiller moth, Asciodes gordialis. Although I originally thought he might be a pyralid caterpillar, he turns out to belong to the family Crambidae.

You can tell its a male by the dark tufts mid-way up the antennae and the dense fringe of hairs on the front legs.

You can see the fringe of hairs on the front legs better in this view.

Unfortunately, circumstances weren't the best for taking good photos.  For some excellent quality photographs of a male bougainvillea caterpiller moth, see Jim Burns Photos.

Bougainvillea Caterpiller Moth Life Cycle

Let's recap what we discovered over the last few weeks (with links to past blog posts.)

bougainvillea caterpiller moth caterpillar hidingThe caterpillar feeds on and hides in rolled up bougainvillea leaves.

Bougainvilleas are brightly-colored shrubs that flower throughout the summer in Arizona.

The color comes from the red or magenta sepals, which are not flower petals.

The true flowers are these tiny white ones. The caterpillars feed on leaves near the sepal clusters at the tips of the stems.

The caterpillar is green with a bit of mottling on its head capsule.

Looking closer, it was easy to see the breathing tubes or trachea through the the caterpillar's clear exoskeleton. The dark green line down the back is its heart.

Before it pupated, the caterpillar turned pink.

And then it pupated.

Maybe someday I'll be able to find some eggs, and we'll have the complete life cycle.


Want to learn more about moths? National Moth Week is coming up July 22 through 30, 2017. Check the website for events near you.

This year the focus will be on tiger moths.