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2 June 2021

1 June 2021 – One Extra Moth

Pale Tussock (Calliteara pudibunda)

Since 8 November 2020 the Pale Tussock pupa has remained, apparently motionless, in a silken cocoon within a plastic container.  It was checked regularly to see if any changes might be visible but the metamorphosis that was taking place was hidden from view.  

The cocoon had been spun by the caterpillar and it had fixed it to the side of a clear container, enfolded within an apple leaf.  In the image above the moth has just emerged after making a small opening through the silk threads and, with the help of gravity, its wings are beginning to expand.  This takes a few hours.

Pale Tussock with empty cocoon

The moth was now ready for flight but remained in exactly the same position throughout the rest of the day.  When evening came it was taken to the quarry and released.  The adult doesn’t feed so it wasn’t important to find a food source.  Hoping it wouldn’t find its way into last night’s trap, I left it hidden in the grasses – one extra moth for the garden. 

The weather has now changed dramatically and I had high expectations of a variety of species to record… The result?  Six Poplar Hawk-moths and two White Ermines.

This coming Friday the gardens are open for National Garden Scheme and a moth trap is normally included.  This year, with social distancing, it may not be possible.