The Hirsute Route

Caterpillar - day 22 - showing the five  pairs of prolegs and three pairs of true legs
Cinnabar Moth Larvae

The case of the Mystery Eggs on the Conservatory Door has had to be re-opened. This had been put in the 'case closed' file - the eggs had been laid by a Cinnabar Moth.

New evidence has come to light - namely that they don't look anything like Cinnabar larvae. This has left red faces all round amongst the Bungling Caterpillar Clouseaus  (so that's you then - ed).

The Cinnabar moth larva sequesters toxins from the Ragwort leaves they feed on, makes itself poisonous and advertises the fact with black and yellow, warning colouration.

My chaps aren't bothering with any of that nonsense. In fact they've clearly gone down the hirsute-route of deterring predators.

In one of the  more bizzare experiments I've read about, Japanese researchers removed the hairs from larvae. These were more likely to be eaten by beetles, than those which had escaped the caterpillar-crewcut.  I expect that when these findings were presented, they were greeted with the Japanese equivalent of 'no shit Sherlock'.

Buff Ermine Adult
I think that these are larvae of the Buff Ermine moth. I have caught several in the moth trap and one was on the lose in the conservatory.

It's  been fascinating to watch the development of  over the past couple of weeks. It's been characterised by growth spurts as they moult between one instar and the next.

The change from tiny eggs, about a millimeter in diameter to 4mm lava, in just two days, was incredible. Likewise the change at about day 20. The largest of the brood (we'll call him Kevin) climbed up wall of the jar. He stayed motionless for a couple of days. Thought about his career path.  Then went through very rapid changes - almost visibly morphing -  to become the fine furry fellow he is now.

Year zero
Day 2
Day 8
Day 18
Day 24

Get this


  1. Hi Phil,
    Just read your ''about me'' part of your blog, well, well, well, I used to read your original website, it was part of what got me into ''blogging'' thanks for that!

    I'll put a link on my blog to your site, and drop in to visit you :-)

  2. Really?? Amazing. Thanks for the link - I've linked to yours


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