A Tiger or a Bear?

I am very pleased that this Buddleia has recovered after freezing back completely last winter, but was then doubly happy to see these two butterflies resting on it the other day, as they are quite unusual…

The English name is Jersey Tiger, but in German they are called ‘Russian Bear’… interesting! Another name used in both languages is ‘Spanish Flag’. I wonder what the Spanish call it!

When resting you cannot see the bright orange part of the wings, so here is a Wikipedia photo to give you an idea of the flashes of bright orange when they flutter away – too quickly for me and my camera!

Wilipedia image

In southern Germany they can often be seen, but only near the woods or on shrubby grassland. They apparently like raspberry or nettle leaves, both of which are abundant in the nearby woods and hedges.

Have you seen this butterfly? And which name would you say is more apt – Tiger or Bear?! ๐Ÿ˜‰

40 thoughts on “A Tiger or a Bear?

  1. We quite often have them in the garden here, but so far I haven’t seen any this year. It is actually a moth, not a butterfly, the formation of the wings is different. Whenever I’ve seen it here, it has been feeding on the white buddleia, but I don’t think we have had enough sunshine this summer for it to visit here..

  2. Beautiful moth! Never seen it, but would say it is more of a tiger, with its flashes of orange. What about “Jersey?” Do you suppose the moth immigrated to England via the Channel Islands?

    • Well, Wikipedia tells me they are common in the Channel Isles, hence the name. They are apparently seen in southern England and the warmer parts of Europe. I can certainly see more similarities to a tiger then a bear too Marian!

    • I wasn’t expecting this buddleia to come back, and another also suffered and is unlikely to flower this year. Maybe it just wasn’t well-enough established, as it is only in its third year now. Your moth is very similar. Does it also fly in the daytime?

  3. I get the Jersey Tiger in this part of France but until this year I only saw it in the woods. This is the first year I have seen quite a few in the garden. It is a coincidence that they have come into your garden in Germany as well. Amelia

  4. Cathy I am Spanish and call that beautiful butterfly “Spanish Flag” I find no reason. I like tiger by the stripes. It is a beautiful photo: the butterfly resting on the Buddleia. Greetings from Margarita.

  5. I’ve never seen this beautiful butterfly. What a great shot, Cathy. Seeing the orange does make me think of a tiger more than a bear. It looks gorgeous against the purple flowers, too. I’m so glad your plant recovered! Have a wonderful weekend.

    • Thanks Alys! I saw a tiny weeny blue butterfly today too, but far too quick to photograph! Hope you get lots of hummingbirds passing through. Have they started flying south yet?

      • Cathy, I had the pleasure this morning of watching four different hummingbirds take turns in the bubbler of the fountain. It’s always breathtaking to watch them. No migration so far, though a lot of the hummingbirds stay around since we’re so warm. I’m glad you got to witness another butterfly.

  6. Tiger makes more sense to me, Cathy, and isn’t it special! I’m really interesting in Margarita’s comment that the Spanish call it “Spanish Flag.” So unique! I have never seen one, not even in photos! I have had Monarchs enjoying my Buddleia, which just started fully blooming this week. I think a healthy garden should attract butterflies, and no matter how many I see in a day, I almost always stop and watch them for a few moments. They add so much! I’m so glad you shared your little beauty. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Hi Debra. Oh yes, the butterflies stop me in my tracks too. It makes this whole gardening thing make sense when I see them. I am glad you have got butterflies too. The Monarchs will need as much nectar as they can get. The idea of thousands of butterflies migrating each year is quite strange to me as a European. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Youยดre lucky. Iยดve never seen a “Russian Bear” in northern Germany. We know the “Brown Bear”, which starts his flight after midnight (not before 24 oยดclock). I also would go with “Tiger”. ๐Ÿ™‚

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