Painted Arachnis: Facts and Care Guidelines for Success

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Painted Arachnis is a strikingly beautiful and intriguing topic. As part of the Class Arachnida, these creatures belong to the subphylum Chelicerata, boasting a remarkable diversity of approximately 65,000 described species. Their captivating colors and patterns set them apart from other arachnids, drawing the attention and admiration of both enthusiasts and researchers alike.

These arachnids are characterized by their distinct body regions, consisting of a cephalothorax and an abdomen. They also have 6 pairs of appendages, used for various purposes such as sensing their environment and capturing prey. The Painted Arachnis exhibit an exceptional range of hues and intricate designs, testament to the intricate beauty of nature.

Some fascinating examples of Painted Arachnis include the Maratus Volans or Peacock Spider, which displays a vibrant, iridescent fan-like structure for courtship rituals. Another stunning species is the Poecilotheria Metallica, or Gooty Sapphire Ornamental, a vivid blue tarantula highly sought after by collectors. Exploring the world of Painted Arachnis opens the door to insights on evolution, adaptation, and the marvelous wonders of the natural world.

Overview of Painted Arachnis

Arachnis Picta

Arachnis picta, commonly known as the painted arachnis, is a unique species of moth found within the Erebidae family. They are a subgroup of the tiger moth, known for their distinct color patterns.

Animalia Kingdom

As a species of moth, arachnis picta belongs to the Animalia Kingdom. This kingdom encompasses all animals, including invertebrates and vertebrates. Some other well-known animals in the kingdom are mammals, birds, and reptiles.

Arthropoda Phylum

Arachnis picta, like other moths, belong to the Arthropoda phylum. Arthropods include insects, crustaceans, and spiders, characterized by:

  • Exoskeletons
  • Jointed appendages
  • Segmented bodies

Insecta Class

Painted arachnis falls under the Insecta class. Insects are defined by their:

  • Three-part body (head, thorax, abdomen)
  • Six legs
  • One or two pairs of wings (exceptions like ants and fleas may be wingless)

Noctuoidea Superfamily

Arachnis picta is a part of the Noctuoidea superfamily, which contains nocturnal moths. This superfamily consists of over 70,000 species, with moths in this group often known for their vibrant colors.

In summary, the painted arachnis is a vibrant species of moth belonging to the Erebidae family and Noctuoidea superfamily. It is a member of the Animalia Kingdom, Arthropoda Phylum, and Insecta Class, sharing common features with other insects, such as exoskeletons, segmented bodies, and six legs.

Physical Characteristics


The Painted Arachnis is a beautiful spider that exhibits vibrant hues of red, pink, and orange. These bold colors make them visually striking and easily distinguishable from other spiders. Additionally, they may have markings resembling painted strokes, contributing to their unique appearance.


Painted Arachnis spiders are quite small creatures, yet they may vary in size. Some specific examples of their size range include:

  • 0.5 inches in length
  • 1 inch in length

It’s essential to recognize that size is not the only distinguishing factor for this species, as coloration and markings also play a significant role.


Identifying a Painted Arachnis spider can be achieved by observing these unique characteristics:

  • Coloration: Vibrant red and pink hues with orange markings
  • Size: Small in stature, usually between 0.5 and 1 inch in length
  • Markings: Distinctive painted-like patterns on their bodies

Keep an eye out for these spiders during the spring, as this is their peak season. By combining their size, color, and markings, you’ll be able to identify a Painted Arachnis spider with ease.

Life Cycle and Behavior


Painted Arachnis, belonging to the moth family, lay their eggs on the underside of leaves. These eggs are typically:

  • Small
  • Round
  • Pale yellowish


Upon hatching, the Painted Arachnis larvae go through several stages of growth, known as instars. Key features include:

  • Varying colors and patterns
  • Developing hairs
  • Consuming leaves from the host plant

Night Time Activity

Painted Arachnis adults are nocturnal creatures, making the night their most active period. They mostly:

  • Search for food
  • Seek mates
  • Locate suitable sites for egg-laying

Seasonal Distribution

The Painted Arachnis has a distinct seasonal distribution, which can vary depending on the geographic location. For example:

  • Summer: Adult moths are most abundant
  • October: Transition from larvae to pupae

Comparison between larvae and adult Painted Arachnis:

Feature Larvae Adult Painted Arachnis
Feeding Consumes leaves from host plant Feeds on nectar from flowers
Activity Daytime Nighttime
Predominant color Varying colors and patterns Brown with white markings
Role in the life cycle Growth and development Reproduction and egg-laying

Habitats and Distribution

United States

In the United States, Painted Arachnis is mainly found in:

  • California: Found in coastal regions with mild temperatures and varied vegetation.
  • Other states: Presence varies, rarer in colder states.


In Canada, Painted Arachnis distribution is limited:

  • Southern regions: Fewer individuals near the US border, in environments similar to California.
  • Northern regions: Extremely rare due to colder climates.


In Mexico, conditions are more favorable for Painted Arachnis distribution:

  • Mild temperatures: Their preferred environments are common in Mexico’s central regions.
  • Varied vegetation: Provides ample hiding spots and food sources.

Comparison Table

Location Distribution Preferred Environment
United States Moderate Coastal, Mild
Canada Limited Southern Regions
Mexico Widespread Central, Mild

Characteristics of Painted Arachnis habitat preference:

  • Mild temperatures
  • Varied vegetation
  • Coastal or central regions

Resources and Guidance

Clickable Guide

A Clickable Guide can provide essential information on Painted Arachnis. It includes:

  • Visual aids for identification
  • Lifecycle details
  • Habitat preferences

Please note the disclaimer: This guide is created by naturalists and enthusiasts, and while accuracy is a priority, expert professional advice may still be required.


Participating in forums can be beneficial for amateurs and professionals alike. Benefits:

  • Share experiences, observations
  • Ask questions, get answers
  • Network with fellow naturalists

Help and Support

For any doubts and inquiries, a dedicated help and support service can provide accurate information and assistance. Don’t hesitate to contact them.

Local Extension Office

Lastly, consider reaching out to your local extension office. They can:

  • Offer expert professional advice
  • Share insights on local Painted Arachnis sightings
  • Connect you with local contributors and naturalists

Remember to always verify information to contribute to the understanding of our diverse natural world.

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Possibly Painted Arachnis Caterpillar in Mount Washington


Subject: Mt. Washington caterpillar
Location: Mt. Washington, Los Angeles
September 13, 2013 4:26 pm
Hello again, Bugman. Shortly after Moth Night at Elyria Canyon, I dropped you a note asking about this caterpillar that I had found in my Mt. Washington back yard. I think you were on vacation at the time and it may have slipped through the cracks or got lost in the ether, so I’m re-sending it. Or, maybe it’s just impossible to identify and I’ll have to wait until it decides to spin a cocoon and hatch.
As I mentioned, there were 6-8 of these that would come out every night to feed (on a certain kind of plant that I can’t identify!). I noticed one last year, too, so they seem to like the area. I haven’t seen them since shortly after collecting this guy, who now lives in a terrarium in our living room. I’ve checked caterpillar for some of the common moths and butterflies we have around here, with no success. I thought (hoped) it might be a Giant Leopard Moth caterpillar, but it doesn’t seem to have they red bands associated with that species. Then again, maybe they’re just hard to see, and I’ll get lucky when it decides to pupate.
Thanks for the help!
Signature: Jonathan V

Painted Arachnis Caterpillar
Possibly Painted Arachnis Caterpillar

Dear Jonathan,
It is great to hear from you.  As you surmised, we were away for 2 1/2 weeks, and much of the mail we received during that time has gone unanswered.  This is one of the Woolly Bear Caterpillars in the subfamily Arctiinae and we believe it is most likely the caterpillar of a Painted Arachnis,
Arachnis picta, a common species in Mount Washington.  According to BugGuide:  “Larvae are generalists of low herbacious plants” so they feed on a wide variety of plants, including many weed species.  The adult Painted Arachnis are attracted to our Mount Washington porch light each winter.  We will double check with Arctiid expert Julian Donahue to see if he agrees with our ID.

Julian Donahue offers his perspective and advice on raising to the adult
It’s either Arachnis picta or Spilosoma vestalis–I never succeeded in figuring out how to distinguish them. I began some rearing experiments, but never had time to study the results.
Arachnis adults fly in the fall/early winter, while Spilosoma adults fly in the spring. So this larvae could be the former, getting ready to pupate and emerge soon, or the latter, preparing to overwinter as a larvae and emerge in the spring.
If your contributor has the time or interest, I’d suggest rearing the larva to an adult to be sure. Put it in a screened container with leaf litter, in a shady protected spot outdoors (so it will be exposed to normal light and temperature), and if it’s hungry, offer it dandelions (Taraxacum) or lamb’s quarters (Chenopodium), or cheeseweed (Malva)–larvae of both moths are general feeders, not too picky about what they eat.

Many thanks, Daniel. I will certainly try to rear it, per the advice below. I may need to find a new container, as I’m not sure the large glass bowl that I have it in now would do well outside. I also worry about the heat, but I guess that’s part of the natural cycle it needs to know when it’s time to pupate. It hasn’t been hungry in some time, seems to have stopped eating a while ago. I will keep you posted and let you know if anything (or what) emerges. I’m leaning toward the Arachnis, since I think I’ve seen those around our property before, but never knew what they were. Thanks, again.

Update:  October 3, 2013
Subject: Mt. Washington large black caterpillar – pupating?
Location: Mt. Washington, Los Angeles
October 3, 2013 1:32 pm
Hi there! I wanted to give you a quick update about the large black caterpillar that we talked about a few weeks ago. I noticed that it was moving from one spot to another, and today when I picked up the last leaf that I saw it under, I noticed that it has spun some silk. I think it may be getting ready to pupate, but I don’t want to disturb it any more than I have to. I think I will wait a few days now before checking on it again.
Julian Donahue suggested that it might be either Arachnis picta or Spilosoma vestalis, and now I’m leaning toward the former. A week ago, I noticed that something had laid a large number of miniscule eggs on one of our curtains. I carefully scraped them off and put them in a jar to see what would come out. And they looked pretty close (both the eggs and the larvae) to what I see on this page about rearing the Painted Tiger Moth. I don’t think I fed them correctly, though, and many seem to have died. I’ve since put them out in the yard, hoping a few of them make it.
This page on rearing them ( also notes that some of them spin silk before pupating, and has a picture that looks pretty similar to mine. I’m including a couple of pictures of the new ones that I found as well, although they’re about 2 mm across and it was hard to get a good clear image. More to come, I will keep you posted.
Signature: Jonathan V

Woolly Bear Cocooning
Woolly Bear Cocooning

Hi again Jonathan,
We get numerous Painted Arachnis Moths attracted to our porch light each winter.

Letter 2 – Mating Painted Arachnis


What’s this bug?
Richard Finn

Hi Richard,
We see from your telephone area code that you live east of San Francisco bay, and that is consistant with the range of the Painted Arachnis, a lovely Tiger Moth. The caterpillars are familiar Woolly Bears.

Letter 3 – Painted Arachnis


is this a leapord or hebrew moth?
in venice california what is she ?

Hi Daniel,
Both the Leopard Moth and your species, the Painted Arachnis, Arachnis picta, are in the Tiger Moth Family Arctiidae, so it is an understandable mistake. The underwings are a lovely salmon pink with gray spots. Adults fly in southern California from late September to October, so your specimen is right on time. They are attracted to lights.

Letter 4 – Painted Arachnis


We recently spotted this Tiger Moth, The Painted Arachnis, Arachnis picta, laying eggs on the side of our house. Every night, the moths are attracted to the lights outside. Our Green Lynx Spider has been feasting on them on a regular basis, hence the corpse on the right.

Letter 5 – Painted Arachnis


Painted Arachnis
Hi, guys!
WONDERFUL website! Thanks to your collection, I was able to ID this incredible moth that we found while helping a friend pack their belongings for a move; it toppled out of one of the bags and we honestly thought it was a decorative fake butterfly! It wasn’t until I could feel the thing starting to move around on my finger that I realized it wasn’t a fake!! I got Floyd to pose with it (then finally set it on their Bird of Paradise), and am sharing the pics with you to use in your collection; enjoy!
San Diego, CA

Hi MB,
Thanks for sending in your photo. The Painted Arachnis, one of the Tiger Moths with Wooly Bear Caterpillars, are currently being attracted to our porch lights at the Mt Washington office in Los Angeles where they are laying eggs on the side of the structure.

Letter 6 – Painted Arachnis: Fresh from the Pupa!!


do you know what bug this is
Attaching a copy of a photo of a bug I’ve never seen before. Do you know what it is and whether it’s harmful to plants, etc.
Thank you,
Marilyn Bradley

Hi Marilyn,
This is a Painted Arachnis, Arachnis picta, and it is freshly metamorphosed. The wings will soon expand and harden for flight. This is a type of Tiger Moth and it does not feed as an adult. The caterpillars are Wooly Bears and feed on a large variety of weedy plants.

Letter 7 – Painted Arachnis lays eggs


I had a great pic of this moth mating but cannot seem to locate it. This was taken in San Luis Obispo, CA / central california. I am used to seeing moths of single color brown, grey but not like this. What is it?

Hi Nancy,
We are sad to not have received the photo of the Painted Arachnis, Arachnis picta, mating. It would have been a lovely addition to our Bug Love page. This is a very common Tiger Moth at our Mt. Washington offices and we often see females laying eggs on our garage. The caterpillars are typical Woolly Bears.

Letter 8 – Painted Arachnis Mating and Resulting Hatchlings


tiger moth mating
Hello bugman,
A few months ago I submitted shots of tiger moths laying eggs along with the hatched larvae. I did not originally have the moths mating picture. I finally located it! Hope you still need one.
Nancy (havard) Rendel
San Luis Obipso, CA

Hi Nancy,
We received and posted the egg laying image of the Painted Arachnis, but did not receive the hatchling photo. We are happy to post it along side the long dead parents.


  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

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  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

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