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What is a brown moth with two yellow stripes?

What is a brown moth with two yellow stripes?

There are several species of moths that have brown wings with two yellow stripes. The most common ones belong to the family Arctiidae, also known as tiger moths. Tiger moths can be found all over the world and are medium-sized, hairy moths that are brightly colored with striking patterns.

Possible Species

Here are some of the most likely species of brown moths with two yellow stripes:

  • Garden Tiger Moth (Arctia caja)
  • Great Tiger Moth (Arctia caja)
  • Pink-legged Tiger Moth (Spilosoma latipennis)
  • Scarce Footman (Eilema complana)
  • Buff Footman (Eilema depressa)
  • Salt Marsh Tiger Moth (Estigmene acrea)

Of these, the most likely species is the Garden Tiger Moth. This species has brown forewings with two yellow stripes running horizontally across them. The hindwings are orange with black spots and stripes.


Here are some tips for identifying a brown moth with two yellow stripes:

  • Check the size – Tiger moths have a wingspan of 3.5-4.5 cm on average.
  • Examine the wing patterns – Look for distinct yellow stripes on brown forewings.
  • Note antennae – Tiger moths have feathery/fuzzy antennae.
  • Check the abdomen – Abdomen is covered in woolly hairs, often with alternating light and dark bands.
  • Notice flying style – Tiger moths fly low to the ground in a zig-zag pattern.

If the moth matches the above descriptions, with brown forewings containing two yellow stripes, it likely belongs to an Arctiidae tiger moth species.

Life Cycle

Tiger moths undergo complete metamorphosis with four life stages:

  1. Egg – Tiny eggs laid in batches on leaves of host plants.
  2. Larva – Velvety caterpillars with hair tufts. Build cocoons.
  3. Pupa – Inside cocoon, caterpillar transforms into pupa.
  4. Adult – Emerge from cocoons as fully grown moths.

The adult tiger moths live for a few weeks to a few months. During this time, they focus on reproducing and laying eggs for the next generation.

Habitat and Range

Tiger moths can be found in many habitat types, including:

  • Fields
  • Meadows
  • Grasslands
  • Gardens
  • Hedgerows
  • Woodland edges
  • Coastlines

They have a widespread distribution and can be found across these regions:

  • North America
  • Europe
  • Asia
  • Africa
  • Australia

The Garden Tiger Moth has one of the largest ranges spanning Europe, Asia, North Africa and parts of North America.

Behavior and Diet

Tiger moths exhibit some interesting behaviors:

  • Nocturnal – Most active at night.
  • Attracted to lights – Often seen fluttering around streetlights.
  • Low flight – Fly close to the ground and vegetation.
  • Camouflage – Cryptic patterns and colors help them blend into surroundings when resting.
  • Unpalatable – Bright colors warn predators that they have a bad taste.

As adults, tiger moths do not eat. They live off fat reserves accumulated during the caterpillar stage. The larvae primarily feed on herbaceous plants and trees including grasses, nettles, dandelion and willow.

Threats and Conservation

Most tiger moth species are widespread and not considered threatened. However, some species face habitat loss from development and human activities. Light pollution also disrupts their natural behaviors.

A few tiger moths are endangered, such as the Scarce Footman found in parts of Europe. Conservation efforts for these species include:

  • Habitat protection and restoration
  • Captive breeding and reintroduction
  • Monitoring and surveys
  • Raising public awareness

Simple actions like leaving wild areas in gardens, avoiding excess lighting, and participating in citizen science projects can help protect tiger moth populations.

Key Facts

  • Tiger moths belong to the family Arctiidae.
  • They are medium-sized moths with hairy bodies.
  • Brown forewings have two yellow or white stripes.
  • Found worldwide in various habitats.
  • Unpalatable to predators.
  • Larvae feed on herbaceous plants.
  • Nocturnal and attracted to lights.
  • Examples: Garden Tiger Moth, Pink-legged Tiger Moth.


In summary, a brown moth with two yellow stripes likely belongs to the Arctiidae family of tiger moths. These hairy moths are named for their striped forewing patterns. They can be identified by their colors, markings, antennae, flight style and other features. Tiger moths have a widespread distribution across several continents and occupy diverse habitats. While the adults do not eat, the larvae feed on a variety of plants. These moths play their part in local ecosystems, though some species require habitat protection due to threats from human activity.

Species Wingspan Range
Garden Tiger Moth 4.5 cm Europe, Asia, N. Africa, N. America
Great Tiger Moth 4 cm Europe, Central Asia
Pink-legged Tiger Moth 3.5 cm Europe, N. Africa, Middle East