Tigers are on the prowl at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve | Rye Harbour Nature Reserve

Tigers are on the prowl at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve

Monday, 27th June 2022

Tigers are on the prowl at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve
Cream-spot Tiger © Natasha Sharma

Natasha Sharma

Communities and Wildlife Officer

Always a remarkable sight on a summer's walk is the odd tiger or even a whole streak of them at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve - obviously the invertebrate kind in the form of a moth, not the mammal (as that might be a sign that global warming had really got out of hand!).

We are lucky to have four different kinds of tiger moth on the Reserve. These are the Cream-spot Tiger (pictured), Scarlet Tiger, Garden Tiger and Jersey Tiger.

These are often found in caterpillar form wandering across the paths or amongst the grassland and shingle plants in May, June and July.

All the adult moths fly between May and August are very recognisable with their large size, clear black and white design patterns on the forewings and bright red and yellow colours in the hindwings and body.

 Visitors often help us spot the black hairy caterpillars of Cream-spot Tiger Moths and the brown and black woolly bear caterpillars of the Garden Tiger Moth to put on irecord wildlife app. which records the size of their populations to help with conservation.

Some of our younger visitors to the reserve in our Nature Tots group from pre-school have been lucky enough to learn about the tiger moths on numerous insect hunts throughout spring and summer with our Communities and Wildlife team.

In May we noticed a whole host of bright yellow and black caterpillars on the Comfrey plants which, by the time we met again in June, were flying around as an ambush of beautifully patterned Scarlet Tiger Moths. Recently the children also listened to the wonderful story of The Woolly Bear Caterpillar by Julia Donaldson, which tells of the sadly declining Garden Tiger Moth caterpillar.

We are very keen to keep these moth populations stable since we know they feed and breed on the reserve and surrounding fields and gardens, so our groups of all ages have been making seed bombs of moth food plants. We hope these plants will grow at the edges of gardens and paths by peoples' homes, to hopefully provide food, shelter and breeding areas for these beautiful creatures.

We are holding two Magnificent Moth events in July - see here for more details  

This post is also available on Sussex Wildlife Trust website

Sign up for your newsletter

Keep up to date with the latest developments.

We use cookies to collect and analyse information on site performance and usage, to improve your browsing experience and show personalised content. You are free to manage this via your browser settings at any time. To learn more about how we use the cookies, please see our cookies policy.