Friday, 22 August 2014

Caterpillar challenge

BBC Wildlife magazine have a challenge each month and this time it was to find 12 caterpillars and photograph them.

We had a go, but couldn't find them all. We had masses of Large (and Small) White caterpillars all over my broccoli plants in the garden. In the end they ate the lot, just leaving the stalks behind.

Large White caterpillar

Our nettle patch had Comma and Small Tortoiseshell caterpillars on it.


Small Tortoiseshell
We also found masses of Peacock caterpillars - not on the list but still a good find (and black and spiky like the comma and small tortoiseshell.

Peacock caterpillars

We found Cinnabar moths eating Ragwort on the Isle of Wight and we have a gang of Buff Tip caterpillars eating the Silver Birch tree in the garden. We caught a Buff Tip in the moth trap and she laid a load of eggs. When they hatched, we put them out on the tree and they've thrived out there.
Cinnabar moth

Buff Tips

Buff Tips
We found a Vapourer moth caterpillar and kept it until it pupated and then hatched out. It was an amazing looking caterpillar, that turned into a wingless furry grey body. This is the female moth - such a strange looking thing to come from such an ornate caterpillar. We put her outside in the garden and within a few minutes, three male Vapourer moths sniffed her out and mated with her. She laid a mass of eggs, then died.

Vapourer moth caterpillar

Female Vapourer moth

Three male Vapourer moths soon found her
We didn't find a Sycamore moth caterpillar, but did find two similar hairy caterpillars, both with hints of orange on them. We're not sure what they are though.

We've found Dot moth caterpillars in the garden in the past, but couldn't find any this time when we were looking. We did find an Angle Shades on the broccoli though.

Angle Shades
We also couldn't find a Lime Hawkmoth caterpillar, but we have found an Elephant Hawkmoth and we had some 'pet' Death's Head Hawkmoths early in the spring.

Elephant Hawkmoth

Death's Head Hawkmoth


  1. How exciting it would have been!! Isn’t it? I really love reading about this challenge but personally I hate pests. I have a huge garden area and last year there were so many caterpillars and other pests. They ruined my plants then I hired a famous Termite inspection port macquarie firm for the treatment.

  2. Why do some people automatically want to kill everything. All of these creatures have a purpose in life. So they may eat a few plants. Don't just reach for chemicals, you will be killing everything that is beneficial in your garden