Thursday 17 October 2013

What's the caterpillar?

From Chloe Griffiths:

I found 3 of these mystery caterpillars today, about an inch to an inch and a half long, very furry, and seemingly uniformly chestnut brown.  They were near a very acidic pool complex in the midst of Soft Rush, Heath bedstraw, Bilberry, Bramble, etc.  Could anyone let me know what they are, please?


  1. I think its a Ruby Tiger moth caterpillar. Google RTM images and see what you think.
    I did have one similar last year trying to pupate under my back door!

  2. I agree, Ruby Tiger, presumably off to hibernate

    1. I stand corrected, of course PH is right, they over-winter as larvae not as pupae. I can't quite get my head around the choices moths make in this regard; intuitively I think it would be safer to be in a cocoon but perhaps they benefit by going out to feed in exceptionally mild conditions like the bats or they maybe need the extra fresh food when they resume in the spring to get them to best condition for that dramatic metamorphosis. Are the chemicals/nutrients in leaves different in the spring to those dying off in late summer/autumn?

  3. Thanks both for your comments. What a great service!


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