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Of the 2500 known moths in Great Britain and Ireland, one of the most recognisable is the Jersey tiger moth (euplagia quadripunctaria). They belong to the genus Euplagia and family Erebidae, and are named for the distinctive markings on their wings, which resemble a tiger’s stripes.



Jersey tigers are considered medium to large-sized, with a wingspan of approximately 52-65mm. They can have several different colourings and are easily differentiated from other tiger moths. It has a dark forewing wing, primarily with a base colour being black, and the markings normally range from pale yellow (almost white) to orange. They also have a small number of black spots on the hindwings.

Jersey Tiger (Euplagia quadripunctaria) sucking on Woolly Thistle


The caterpillar stage of this insect is made up of hundreds of tiny hairs on its body that are covered in a waxy substance that makes it look fuzzy and brown. The colour of their caterpillars are generally black with numerous small orange dots.

Jersey Tiger Moth Caterpillar in nature on a plant

Are Jersey Tiger Moths Rare?

Although the jersey tiger moth is not endangered or threatened, it is extremely localised and so is considered somewhat rare in the UK. Unlike other moths, it has been unaffected by climate change and the general population trend for this species is on the rise.

Side view of a Euplagia quadripunctaria.

Where Can You See Jersey Tiger Moths?

Jersey tigers can be seen between July and September. You’ll often spot the jersey tiger flying around on warm days but sometimes at night too when they are attracted to light.


The Jersey tiger moth is rarely seen around the British Isles, but is prevalent around the south coast of England, especially around South Devon and Cornwall. More recently the euplagia quadripunctaria population growing around the Isle Of Wight. This species of moth is also becoming increasingly common around South London.


A jersey tiger moth’s main habitat includes gardens, coastal cliffs and beaches. They will appear in areas where they can find oak trees as they will spend their young caterpillar stage inside these trees until they mature and turn into moths.

What Do They Eat?

The caterpillars feed on a wide variety of herbaceous plants, some that are considered weeds, such as dandelions, common nettle, white dead nettle, borage ground-ivy and bramble.

The adult jersey tiger moth prefers nectar from flowers. Like the scarlet tiger moth, jersey tigers do not have mouths to eat or drink, so the moths fly from plant to plant searching to find nectar for nourishment. They are able to suck it up through their proboscis, which allows them to eat through a straw-like structure.

Sources and References

11 thoughts on “Jersey Tiger Moth (Euplagia Quadripunctaria)”

  1. We have had two Jersey Tiger Moths in our garden in Hillingdon, West London, over the last week or so. I have just seen one now. They are so beautiful.

  2. We had one in our front room which has patio doors to the garden. After a day inside we caught it with a spider catcher, so we didn’t damage it and released it in the garden. We live on the Isle of Wight.

  3. I saw one yesterday on the lavender in our garden in Pleshey, Essex. A very beautiful moth, I have never seen one before, a very welcome visitor.

  4. Seen a jersey tiger moth for the first time ever in our garden this afternoon, August 11th 2022, Ruscombe, Berkshire. So beautiful and thrilled to see it. Anne Sharp

  5. We have one now in our home in Branksome, Poole. It is very beautiful, especially when it opens its wings and reveals the bright orange underneath.

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