Arctia yarrowii (Stretch, 1873)




Arctia yarrowii is a boldly patterned species from rocky mountain slopes. It is medium to large (FW length 22 mm). The forewing ground color is cream to light yellow. The forewing is patterned with broad, uneven dark brownish gray transverse lines. These are sometimes fused to cover large areas of the forewing. The hindwing is orange, including the fringe, marked with dark gray. The basal area is black to near the large discal spot. The marginal band is comprised of a series of spots, often fused, and irregular black patches at the wing margin. Most of the body is black, but the collar and anterior tegulae are the same yellowish as the forewing ground color, the legs are part dark orange, and the tip of the abdomen is bright orange. The black antennae are weakly bipectinate in males and simple in females.

Arctia yarrowii occurs with Chelis brucei, another colorful mountain moth, in southwestern British Columbia and northern Washington. The hindwing of N. brucei is red, not orange as in A. yarrowii, and its black markings are heaviest at the wing markings rather than at the base. Arctia yarrowii could be confused with Arctia alpina or Arctia lapponica near the Yukon-British Columbia border (neither specieshas been confirmed for the province). Arctia alpina is a rarely encountered species of rocky tundra. Its forewing patternis multiple cream spots on a black background (most similar to that of Arctia virginalis, a species from much farther south), rather than alternating black and cream transverse lines as in A. yarrowii. Arctia lapponica is a wet tundra and boreal forest species. Its pattern is similar to that of A. yarrowii but the forewing and body color is warm reddish brown rather than black.


This species occurs in barren rocky fellfields and slides above timberline.


Pacific Northwest

Arctia yarrowii is found in the Rocky Mountains, British Columbia Coast Range, and Cascades as far south as Okanogan County, Washington.


This species occurs in northwestern Wyoming and northeastern Utah in the United States. Its range extends north in the Rocky Mountain chain to southern Yukon Territory. It also occurs in the mountains of central and northern Yukon Territory.

Life History


No specific information is available regarding larval foodplants, but it probably feeds on general herbaceous vegetation like related species. A parasitized cocoon on the top of a small flat stone found at Slate Peak, Okanogan County, Washington probably was from this species.


Adults are diurnal. They fly two to three meters above the rocky tundra, often in a seemingly a straight line with the wind, and are difficult to catch. Females call in late afternoon and evening, even during cloudy periods (Peter Jakubek, personal communication).

Economic Importance




Ferguson et al. (2000)

Moth Photographers Group