The Alder trees were covered in catkins so a few went in a pot for inspection at home.
With a x10 or better lens, it is easy to see if there any small holes in the catkins - and if there are it generally means there is a caterpillar inside. Later you can see frass on the catkin - (frass = caterpillar poo).
Here is a photo showing exactly that, and if you are lucky you may also see the caterpillar come out to have a look at the rest of the world.
And yes, luck was in.
|Larvae from above catkin|
The problem now is to try and identify the moth species of this caterpillar and of course there is a choice. The easiest choice is to wait until it turns into a moth, but there is always the chance that it will not survive. At the moment, there is still the chance as it has pupated. All I have to do now is ensure that it does not go mouldy!
And the guess at the moment is Argyresthia goedartella, but it may be brockeella.
Although I have collected several Hazel catkins, I have yet to find a larva.