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14 June 2012

14 June 2012 – The Very Hairy Caterpillar

The Drinker (Euthrix potatoria)

We did not set the trap yesterday as the temperature dropped again and the night was wet. Instead, we took an evening stroll in search of the dancing Ghost Moths and brought along our own Ghost Moth to release in case we found them. Although we didn’t spot any dancing moths, we did find a large caterpillar inching along a tall blade of Timothy-grass. It was the larva of the Drinker (Euthrix potatoria).

The nearly four inch long caterpillar was covered in brightly colored hairs that stuck out like spikes and had one horn on its head; a risky-looking snack for a predator. But apparently, while the appearance of many caterpillars looks threatening they are generally harmless. These characteristics are often no more than a ploy to ward off passersby. Regardless of this knowledge, we did not disturb the caterpillar any more than needed in order to take the picture. My only hope is that a bird did not swoop down after us and devour the fuzzy crawler, as it made little attempt to camouflage itself.

As for tonight, the pressure is on to catch some striking moths, as we want to have a few good species to release for the guests at tomorrow’s Open Garden evening. Remember to check on our website for details about the event.