Agreeable Tiger Moth Facts: All You Need To Know

If you are seeing white-colored moths in your garden in summer and spring time, its likely agreeable tiger moths. Read all about these fascinating insects in the blog below.

If you are spotting white moths swarming around different light sources from April to August, there is a high chance that these moths are agreeable tiger moths. 

You can identify them with the distinct black spots on the wide body with an orange bib below the head. 

Different species of tiger moths are infamous for being poisonous and causing various health problems to humans. 

Are the agreeable tiger moths one of them? Let us find out. This article is loaded with important details about agreeable tiger moths. It also has a few tips and tricks to eliminate these insects. 

Agreeable Tiger Moth

Scientific Classification Table

FamilyErebidae, they are also from the tiger moth tribe Arctini
IdentificationWhite bodies with small black dots and bright orange bib below the head. The larvae are black with either red or yellow patterns on the body. 
SizeAdults can grow upto 0.78 inches
Wingspan Size1.06-1.85 inches (average)
RangeFound in warm and humid regions of North America, India, and Southern Canada
Lifespan7-10 days as adults
Life CycleEmbryo, agreeable tiger moth caterpillar, pupa, adult
DietHerbaceous plants like pigweed and dandelions. They also eat mushrooms.
Conservation StatusG5 Secure
Other Common NamesYellow-legged tiger moths, Spilosoma Congrua

What Does Agreeable Tiger Moth Look Like?

Agreeable tiger moths are also commonly known as Yellow-legged tiger moths. These insects belong to the Erebidae family. 

Adult tiger moths can be identified by their white bodies topped with black spots. 

The tiger moth caterpillars are found in two color morphs- black-colored bodies with red patterns and black with yellow ring-like spots. 

You should know that woolly bears also grow up to become tiger moths. These caterpillars are covered in a coat of short fuzzy hair. 

They love to feed on various herbaceous plants, which we will discuss in the upcoming sections.

Agreeable Tiger Moth Size – How Big Does Agreeable Tiger Moth Get?

Agreeable tiger moths usually grow up to 0.78 inches in length. The wings are bigger than the body. An average agreeable tiger moth can have a wingspan of 1.06-1.85 inches. 

Their body (including wings) is white in color, and if you look closely, you will notice a few tiny black spots on it. The woolly bear caterpillars are usually around 2.16 inches long. 

Agreeable Tiger Moth

Agreeable Tiger Moth Moth Lifespan-How Long Does Agreeable Tiger Moth Live? 

Agreeable tiger moths don’t survive long as adults. An average healthy adult agreeable tiger moth can live for around a week. 

In the wild, they are often hunted down by potential predators like lizards, birds, small rodents, and wasps. 

Agreeable Tiger Moth Life Cycle

The cycle begins with the mating of the males and females. Here the eggs are fertilized inside the female body during mating. 

Once mating is completed, the female searches for a suitable spot to lay the fertilized eggs. These spots are usually in places with abundant plant matter in the vicinity. 

Food plants are one of the most significant sources of nutrition for larvae to grow. 

Within 10 ten days, the eggs start hatching. However, the time frame can differ in different cases, as climatic conditions can alter the dates. 

As soon as the caterpillar hatches, in most cases, the first thing that it eats is the shell from which it just emerged. 

The shell contains a lot of proteins, vitamins, and other nutrients which the caterpillar needs to survive, develop, and grow. 

This provides a good head start to the eating frenzy of these caterpillars. 

An average tiger moth caterpillar can eat around 2,700 times the weight of their bodies. The eating spree continues till the last stages of being a larva. 

Once the insect is close to entering the pupation period, it leaves the host plants and goes to a secure, warm, and humid place to transform. 

In around three weeks, the adult emerges from the pupa. 

Agreeable Tiger Moth

Where Is Agreeable Tiger Moth Found & Their Range?

Agreeable tiger moths prefer to live in warm and humid places as it helps to fasten the pupation process. 

You can spot them in grasslands, woodlands, and gardens with plenty of herbaceous plants. 

Since caterpillar consumes a lot of food, they love to be around their major food sources. You will find them in various regions of North America, Southern Canada, and India. 

What Do Agreeable Tiger Moths Eat?

Agreeable tiger moths have a plain diet; they mostly consume herbaceous plants including, pigweed, dandelions, and plantain. 

These plants are common throughout the various regions of the US. The caterpillars are also known to feed on bracket fungus. 

Also, as mentioned in the above sections, these caterpillars munch on their eggshells as soon as they hatch. 

It provides the necessary proteins required by the insect to grow into a healthy adult agreeable tiger moth. 

Adding to that, there are some sightings where adults were seen consuming various kinds of mushrooms. 

Are Agreeable Tiger Moths Poisonous? 

Unlike beetles and wasps, these insects don’t have any external mandibles or stingers to defend themselves against predators. 

But they have developed a fascinating defense system. 

When they sense danger, their bodies start secreting iridoid glycosides which emit a foul odor and add a nasty taste. This keeps the predators away.

This liquid is non-poisonous and not harmful to humans, but touching it with bare hands might trigger allergic reactions in humans due to the hair present in their bodies. 

If you want to touch them, it is better to use safety gloves. 

Agreeable Tiger Moth

Do Agreeable Tiger Moth Bite? 

Agreeable tiger moths don’t bite. Even if they can bite, there are thin chances of them attacking humans. Adding to that, these insects don’t have a stinger as well. 

Hence they can’t sting humans or pets. If they sense danger, they’ll secrete a non-poisonous, which makes them smell bad. 

The only threat is when you touch them without proper safety equipment. The hair on their body can trigger allergic reactions in the human body.

How To Attract Agreeable Tiger Moth?

Yes, agreeable tiger moths consume herbaceous plants and some fruit-bearing trees, but they don’t pose a significant threat to the plantations. 

This is because they usually don’t swarm at a place. If you want to attract these moths to your garden, you can start planting trees and flowering plants like: 

Paper birch, hickory, red maple, American beech,  persimmon, American chestnut, black walnut, smooth sumac, white oak, sweetgum, and willow.

Also, these moths avoid coming to areas where different species of lizards, birds, ad other potential predators stay. 

If you want them to be in your garden, ensure that there are hornets, wasps, and lizards looming around. 

Agreeable Tiger Moth Meaning

There might be times when even after taking all necessary precautions, you keep seeing these moths around you. 

In some cases, they might appear in your dream as well. There are several rich spiritual meanings attached to these moths.

Different cultures have different ways of perceiving the spotting of an agreeable tiger moth. When it comes to symbolism, many cultures consider butterflies and moth somewhat similar. 

Moths are gentle creatures. They are soft creatures and not at all aggressive. Therefore many people consider them to be a sign of sensibility. 

Also, since they are highly attracted to light, people consider them to be a strong signal to find the light in the darkness.

Agreeable Tiger Moth

It serves as a source of enlightenment to start finding the light that glows within your soul. 

You will be fascinated to know that there is a negative interpretation of moths flying to light sources. 

The fire/light source is considered a source of seduction, and the moth flying towards it is a reminder that one should never sit too close to the fire. 

The main lesson is to think rationally before getting lured in by a seductive force. 

Some cultures also associate the white color of these moths with purity, innocence, and goodness. 

Agreeable Tiger Moth Facts 

Apart from all the information provided in the sections above, there are other fascinating things about agreeable tiger moths. Some of them are stated in this section. 

  • Agreeable tiger moths look almost similar to the Pink-legged Tiger Moth (Spilosoma Latipennis). Both these species have identical white-colored bodies. The only physical difference is that the forelegs of tiger moths are yellow, not pink. 
  • These moths have a distinct bright orange mark there back. If the spot was not present, they will look completely identical to the Virginia tiger moth. 
  • Agreeable tiger moth species were described by Francis walker (an English entomologist) in 1855. 
  • The woolly bear caterpillar grows up to become a tiger moth; they are widely popular as insect pets. People love to have them around due to their fascinating bristly appearance. 
  • To protect themselves against predators and humans, the agreeable tiger moths release a liquid that emits foul odors and makes them taste bitter. 
  • The defense liquid released by these insects is not poisonous and won’t have any fatal illness to the human body. 
  • Agreeable tiger moths are fragile; if you try to grab them, you will probably end up killing them. Therefore try to be gentle with these creatures.
  • The wings of an agreeable tiger moth are covered in a cloud of silky white dust, and if you touch them, a layer of dust will get deposited on your skin. 
  • You can spot the adult agreeable tiger moths flying around from April to August.

Agreeable Tiger Moth

How To Get Rid Of Agreeable Tiger Moth? 

Although agreeable tiger moths are harmless, having them around the house can look quite messy. If you notice these insects around your space, listed below are a few tips and tricks to get rid of them.

If you have trees and plants consumed by agreeable tiger moths in your garden, there is no need to get rid of them. 

You can add a few small lizards to the yard. These creatures will hunt the moths down in no time.

Since moths are easily attracted to light, they might enter your house chasing the bright lights inside. 

Try to turn the porch lights off early and keep the curtains and windows closed after the dark, as they can be great entry points for the moths. 

Eliminating woolly bear caterpillars is also effective for keeping tiger moths away. If you spot woolly bears regularly, prepare a mixture of pepper, garlic, and water to make a solution. 

Put this mixture in a spray bottle and put it directly on the woolly bears. The liquid will kill the insects slowly.  

Keep your gardens clean, especially during winter. Woolly bears search for warm spots to hibernate throughout the winter, and unattended logs and leaves become the perfect spot to take shelter. 

Therefore, keep cleaning the garden regularly and dump all the unnecessary debris. 

Sprinkle some vinegar in a spot where the caterpillars mostly gather. These insects don’t like the smell of vinegar. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Are tiger moths poisonous to touch?

It is not advisable to touch tiger moths as many of their species can be poisonous. For example, Australian tiger moths are poisonous. 
These insects are brightly colored, which also indicates the predators that they are toxic to consume. In some cases touching a tiger moth can also cause dermatitis.

Are tiger moths rare?

Tiger moths are not that rare. Various species of tiger moths are found in different corners of the world. 
For example, agreeable tiger moths are found in the US, Canada, and India. Their number was high earlier, but due to constant habitat destruction, there is a dip in the figures.

Can I touch luna moth?

It is rare to spot a luna moth in the wild. Yes, they are attractive to look at, and you might get tempted to touch the, but you should not act upon them. 
They are not poisonous, but these moths are delicate, and touching them might cause harm to the insect. It is wise to enjoy the view without any touching. 

What happens if you touch moth wings?

If you touch moth wings, a speck of white powdery dust will get deposited in your fingers. Also, the wings are delicate, and a little force can easily break them and can also kill the moth. 
Therefore it is better to not touch these insects and enjoy looking at them from a distance.

Wrap Up 

Tiger moths have a bad reputation for being poisonous at times. Some of the species can easily cause health problems like dermatitis in humans. 

But it is important to know that not all species of tiger moths are harmful to humans. The agreeable tiger moths are a great example of this. 

These insects are not poisonous, and they don’t cause any harm to humans. The only downside is they secrete a foul-smelling liquid when they feel threatened. 

Touching them with bare hands can trigger allergic reactions in the body. Use the tips and tricks given here to stay safe from these insects. Thank you for reading the article. 

Reader Emails

Many of our readers have noticed these white-colored bugs in their gardens or yards, and sometimes even their caterpillars.

The question that we often get asked is whether they are poisonous to touch or otherwise harmful, and we hope we answered that well enough. 

Do go through the pictures captured and commentary from our readers in the letters below.

Letter 1 – Orange Spotted Tiger Moth from Australia, but what species?????

 

tiger moth
Hi there,
while it’s bogong season here in Sydney, Australia, the attached is something I grew up always calling a “tiger moth”. I don’t know much else about it, but they come out in summer. I seem to recall there being plagues of them in the 1980s, but these days you’re lucky if you see a handful each year. They’re about an inch long. Cheers,
Chris Rehberg



Hi Chris,
We quickly located your Tiger Moth, more specifically, Orange Spotted Tiger Moth, Ceryx guttulosa, on the wonderful GeoCities website. This species, like many other Tiger Moths, is a wasp mimic. Just as we thought we had this one solved, we noticed a second page on the GeoCities site called Orange Spotted Tiger Moth 2. This second species, Amata annulata, looks remarkably like the first. Now we are not certain which is correct, but thankfully, both have the same common name.

Letter 2 – Agreeable Tiger Moth

 

Subject: spotted moth in garden Location: Baltimore, MD March 13, 2014 1:13 pm after planting a garden in Baltimore Maryland (downtown!) We started getting a bunch of strange bugs – is this just a standard moth, or something special? Late summer months. Thanks! Signature: Jet Setter
Agreeable Tiger Moth
Agreeable Tiger Moth
Hi Jet Setter, This Tiger Moth is in the genus Spilosoma, and based on the number of black spots and the location of the sighting, we believe the best match is the Agreeable Tiger Moth, Spilosoma congrua, that we found pictured on BugGuide.  Picturing the abdomen would be helpful in the identification, because BugGuide notes:  “Adult: S. virginica has yellow markings on the abdomen, while S. congrua‘s abdomen is pure white.”

Letter 3 – Male Tiger Moth from Indonesia displays Coremata

 

Subject:  Large Horned Moth Geographic location of the bug:  Indonesia (?) Date: 10/20/2017 Time: 06:06 AM EDT Stumbled on this on facebook, wondering what this moth is. How you want your letter signed:  Thomas
Creatonotos gangis: Tiger Moth displaying Coremata
Dear Thomas, Early this year we received an image of a similar looking Tiger Moth, also from Indonesia, and Arctiid expert Julian Donahue informed us:  “the widespread Asian Creatonotos transiens displaying his coremata (androconia are specialized scent scales usually confined to the wings).  You can see images here:  https://hiveminer.com/Tags/creatonotostransiens/Recent and also if you Google the congeneric Creatonotos gangis you will see images of similar coremata.”  Based on this Real Monstrosities image, we believe your species is the latter one.  That site states:  “Creatonotos is a genus containing about 10 species of moth found in parts of Africa, southeast Asia and Australia. Two species are particularly widespread and well known: C. transiens with their pale, orange abdomen and wings entirely white save for a few carefully-placed, black dots, and the more dramatic C. gangis. Their abdomens are red and they have lovely black stripes on their wings, as if someone was testing a brush before practising some Chinese calligraphy.”

Letter 4 – Male Tiger Moth from Malaysia revealing his coremata

 

Subject:  Moth??? Geographic location of the bug:  Maylasia Indochina Date: 07/05/2019 Time: 08:49 PM EDT Your letter to the bugman:  Video on FB by a friend…. How you want your letter signed:  YFS
Tiger Moth: Creatonotos transiens
Dear YFS, This is a male Tiger Moth, Creatonotos transiens, revealing his coremata, a specialized scent organ.  Seems this image is getting some internet buzz.

3 thoughts on “Agreeable Tiger Moth Facts: All You Need To Know”

  1. I used to catch lots of these when I was a child (I live in Singapore), and have only recently been inspired to check up the scientific name of a childhood favourite. However, I came up with many different ones: the Amata genus, and those as you mentioned in your reply: the Ceryx. I thought that the ones I caught were probably Amata Huebneri, because they looked most similar to what I caught many years ago.

    What would you say about the variation in this genus? I’m no expert, and some of them look the same to me! Having said that, at the end of the day, I managed to narrow it down to a genus, and that makes me very happy.

    Thanks!

    Reply
  2. I used to catch lots of these when I was a child (I live in Singapore), and have only recently been inspired to check up the scientific name of a childhood favourite. However, I came up with many different ones: the Amata genus, and those as you mentioned in your reply: the Ceryx. I thought that the ones I caught were probably Amata Huebneri, because they looked most similar to what I caught many years ago.

    What would you say about the variation in this genus? I’m no expert, and some of them look the same to me! Having said that, at the end of the day, I managed to narrow it down to a genus, and that makes me very happy.

    Thanks!

    Reply
  3. Where the heck does it keep those? That’s roughly equal to its whole body size. Surely it has to tuck those away somewhere to fly…

    Reply

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