Sunday, April 18, 2010

Very Hungry Caterpillars

These two caterpillars crossed our path on Saturday when we were walking along the Northumberland coastal path from Craster to Howick. I'm pretty sure the 'woolly bear' above is a garden tiger moth larva and if so that's good news, because it's a species that has been declining during the long run of mild, wet winters over the last decade or so. I seem to remember reading that it's likely to be an early victim of climate change...
I'm not so sure about this one but I'm thinking it might be a drinker moth larva.....mainly because Abbey Meadows has something very similar on his blog. Can anyone out there help me out with this one?
Assuming I'm correct in my identification, both species overwinter as larvae and resume feeding in Spring, so right now they must be pretty hungry....

4 comments:

  1. Sorry I can't help with the identification Phil, but the pictures are great. I love these gorgeous fluffy caterpillars. :)

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  2. Hi Phil. Drinker looks spot on to me. I don't know for sure if this is true but apparently the moth gets its name because the caterpillars drink dew. You'd think that they'd get enough fluid just by eating plant tissue but if not then surely all caterpillars should be drinkers. Another project when there's nothing else to do!

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  3. Great to look at Lesley, but those hairs irritate the skin apparently ..... although cuckoos eat 'woolly bears' without any ill effects.

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  4. Hi Nyctalus, wish I'd caught it then I could have investigated its drinking habits ....

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