Cinnabar (Tyria jacobaeae)

This is another day flying moth which can easily be mistaken for a butterfly!   Its black and red markings really make it stand out on a sunny day between the middle of May until August, and the larva are also very striking.  They emerge from eggs laid on ragwort and the bright yellow and black colouring of the caterpillars deters predators, who may think they are a juicy morsel until they try taking a bite.  The poison from the ragwort gives the caterpillars a really nasty taste and birds will recognise them in future and avoid eating them.  If you find a ragwort plant, try looking for the larva, they can strip all the leaves before wandering off to pupate.

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