Friday, 5 October 2012

Wet and Frosted!

Well, yes, it was very wet yet again last night, but it was NOT frosted I hear you say - but one of my moths was!

Yes, another new moth for the site was a Frosted Orange, this one looking as though it has been around for a week or two, judging by the wear and tear. The caterpillar of this moth lives inside the stems of plants like Foxgloves.

Frosted Orange

Quite a surprise too was the fact that there were 30 moths of 13 different species in and around the trap - not bad for a chilly and wet night.

Yesterday in the garden I spotted a caterpillar on the flowers in our Heather bed. I was very pleased as I have often searched for caterpillars there to no avail. You will see from the photograph that this is very pretty and not the colour you would expect larva to be. From the size and shape of it and the fact that it was eating heather (or ling) I guessed it was a Ling Pug. The food plant is right, the time of year is right and the colour is right too.

But life is never so simple as I now discover that there is another possibility, as a Midlands variety of the Satyr Pug also feeds on heathers, can be of a similar colour and also can (just) be around now.

Ling Pug, or Satyr? (l)
So, now the hope is that it will pupate and overwinter and reveal its true identity next Spring.

So, speaking of larvae which are in the process of pupating, I was delighted to hear from a near neighbour (how do you define near?). 0h well, about half a mile away, that they had found a Pale Tussock larva on their doorstep. They photographed the catty (see below) and later, I went to photograph it myself, only to find that it had commenced the process of pupation (metamorphosis for film buffs!). So, here are photos of the larva and its start of pupation. This is one of the most spectacular of British moth caterpillars, unique with its pink tail. I hope to take further photos as it progresses. Thank you Liz and Nigel Strachan. 

Pale Tussock (l)

Pale Tussock (l) starting to pupate

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