Monday, 8 July 2013

Cats, Cats? Cats!

Todays blog is all about cats, although there are several other subjects I would like to write about.

Cats, as in caterpillars, cats as in 'Puss' and cats as in Tigers - but in fact Puss and caterpillar are the same in this case!

The story begins on the  morning of the 5th, when I found a very small 'cat' on the sallow bush in the garden. It had a body of about 4mm and two tails a bit shorter, as you will see below. And the connection between this cat and Puss, is that it is a very young cat of a Puss Moth.

Puss Moth larva

As you can imagine, a cat of this size is very vulnerable, but if something approaches it, it has a defence mechanism - it extends its tails to double the size and waves them furiously. So here it is when roused - the red flags flying!

Puss Moth larva 1

To paraphrase a well known song, "Thank heavens for little cats cos' little cats grow bigger every day" and only two days later, the cat has changed. As it gets bigger it needs to become more frightening to its predators, as you can see here. I hope you will be able to follow its progress.

Puss Moth larvae 2

So, let us move on to some bigger cats - Tigers in fact. I got an email on Tuesday from Alison, who lives in Woodcote Edge, with the photo of a moth found outside her house. It was a Scarlet Tiger Moth. From my information on Shropshire moths I found that it has not been recorded here since 2009.
Yesterday morning she told me the moth was still there and I walked down to see it for myself. When I arrived, she told me it had gone, but I was able to say "No, I just saw it down there and took a photo".

Scarlet Tiger

A few moments later I was told it was on the wall, but this was a second one, and this one was newly emerged and was "drying" its wings. 

Scarlet Tiger
A few minutes later we found two more, leading to the fact that these moths are actually breeding here.

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