Ed. Note:  October 13, 2016
We are also finding Painted Tiger Moths at our porch light in Mount Washington, Los Angeles, so it is fair to say they are currently flying in Southern California.

Subject: Strange creature
Location: Soquel Ca
October 11, 2016 7:07 pm
What the heck is it??? 2 heads!!!
Signature: Eve

Mating Painted Tiger Moths

Mating Painted Tiger Moths

Dear Eve,
The reason there are two heads is that one head belongs to the larger female on the right and the other to the male.  This is a mating pair of Painted Tiger Moths, a relatively common California species that is most common in winter months.

wow you are awesome to get back to me thank you! , I just figured it out!!!! how embarrassing!!!!!  as one has left and eggs are in the place, so funny I really thought it was a 2 headed thing  and not a couple!!!! jeez are they good for the garden?  Thanks again

The larva of the Painted Tiger Moth is a Woolly Bear that is a general feeder that is quite fond of weeds, so one could argue that though the adults do not eat and do not pollinate plants, the caterpillars can help keep back weeds.  The diet of the caterpillars is described on BugGuide as:  “Larvae are generalists of low herbacious plants.”

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Location: Soquel, California

2 Responses to Now in Southern California: Mating Painted Tiger Moths

  1. Richard Portman says:

    i love these moths. Here in SW Utah they’re pretty common in October. Wouldn’t it be interesting to try and raise a few? Also, i wonder about the bright pink
    coloring on their abdomens, and their sluggish demeanor when disturbed. Probably not edible for most creatures?

    • bugman says:

      Most insects that have a foul taste or are inedible feed on plants with toxins, like milkweed, and to the best of our knowledge, the Painted Tiger Moths have caterpillars that are generalist feeders, so we do not believe there are inedible.

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