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The Cinnabar Moth
Beautiful Cinnabar Moth
A Day-Flying Moth
A not uncommon sight to see is that of a fluttering and bobbing butterfly dancing above fields of flowers and weeds.
Look closer at that butterfly though, that beautiful red and black butterfly may not be a butterfly at all, it may just be a Cinnabar Moth.
The Cinnabar Moth is named after the mineral, Cinnabar, due to the red color on its wings. Another name for Cinnabar is red mercury sulfide or simply mercury ore.
It is commonly used for jewelry.
Feel like you're wearing a beautiful Cinnabar Moth by sporting this beautiful piece.
Size of the Cinnabar Moth
The Cinnabar Moth is an average size for a moth at about 20mm long,
They have a wingspan of 32-42 mm (1.3-1.7 in).
Size of Cinnabar Moth
It's Not a Butterfly?
The Cinnabar Moth has such striking coloring, that many people mistake them for a butterfly, but they are moths. The upper pair of wings are dusky black with a vivid red strip running down the outer edge and two red dots on each wing on the bottom edge. The bottom pair of wings are that same vivid red with black rims. The Cinnabar Moth's body is black.
Red and Black Moth
Dangle Some Cinnabar and Black Onyx
Cinnabar Moth Caterpillar
The Cinnabar caterpillar starts off pale yellow, then later becomes bright yellowish orange with jet black bands around it.
Yellow and Black Caterpillar
Learn to Identify Caterpillars
There are so many varieties of caterpillar out there. Don't we all want to know what is crawling on our plants?
What They Eat
Cinnabar Moth caterpillars use the Senecio plant family as foodplants. Because they are voracious eaters, they were introduced to control ragwort and Tansy in some areas, including the Western US, especially the states of Washington and Oregon. This is called biologically controlling the pest plants. Since Cinnabar caterpillars eat so much, they can decimate entire areas of weeds, and then they may even turn on each other if there's nothing else to eat.
Cinnabar Caterpillars on Ragwort
Cinnabar Caterpillars Eating Tansy
Catch Butterflies, Caterpillars, and Bugs
Though it used to be common to have fun catching bugs when people were little, many children today don't get to enjoy this simple pastime. Let your kids see some of the beauty of nature by going out and catching bugs then getting a good look at them.
The Tyria jacobaeae
Cinnabar Moth Caterpillars Eating Tansy
These Cinnabar Moth caterpillars are biologically controlling Tansy on the Highlands Trail in Newcastle, Washington
Cinnabar Moth Caterpillars Silhouetted Against the Setting Sun
Learn More about Moths and Butterflies
Get a field guide to butterflies and moths to learn about the flying flowers in your area.