Nature lovers are being asked to check their gardens for tigers in a bid to help conservationists studying the effects of climate change on moth distribution.
Tiger moths are amongst the most colourful of the UK’s 2,500-plus moth species, but some members of the tiger family have experienced dramatic fluctuations in distribution and population over the last 40 years.
Butterfly Conservation and Lepidoptera journal Atropos are asking the public to send in records of their tiger sightings during Moth Night 2013 - the annual celebration of moths and moth recording, to help gather vital information about this charismatic family.
Two species in particular, the Garden Tiger and the Jersey Tiger, have experienced widely differing fortunes.
The Garden Tiger has seen a drop in population while the Jersey Tiger has been thriving with hotter summers and wetter winters.
The Garden Tiger, which is brightly coloured has suffered a severe population fall of 92% over the last 40 years.
Butterfly Conservation Head of Surveys Richard Fox said: “Moths are a greatly under-appreciated part of UK wildlife, but these tiger moths rival any butterfly for beauty and some even fly in the day.
“But climate change and other factors are creating great upheavals among our moths and other wildlife.
“The Garden Tiger is in precipitous decline, especially in the south, while populations appear to be holding up further north.
“Other species such as the Jersey Tiger are expanding their distributions, colonising new areas of Britain.
“Up-to-date information is essential to understand these changes better so we need the public’s help to track down these tigers for Moth Night 2013.”
Atropos editor Mark Tunmore said: “After a very slow start to the year the numbers of moths flying has soared and we are receiving lots of reports of unusual resident species and migrants from overseas.
Moth Night runs from 8-10 August and includes daytime and night-time events.