A smidgen of “happy” during these – sometimes – gloomy times.
Resident, Lynn Dury, has shared these incredible photographs of ‘processionay caterpillars’ – back in her garden. This year, though…they’ve chosen a statue upon, and around, which to display their unique behaviour. Almost looks like an ushanka (a Russian hat with ear-flaps), doesn’t it?
The phenomenon is the larval stage of of the reticulate bagnest moth (Anaphe reticulata).
After hatching from the eggs, the caterpillars begin to feed on the leaves of their host plant. They then head off to find another food course in a ‘procession’: nose-to-tail, connected by a silk trail started by the leader.
The long lines of caterpillars are often seen when the weather turns cold. Should the line be disrupted for any reason, the caterpillars become confused and disoriented. The line will then halt completely until a new leader takes control.
If you see this happening in your area, please leave the caterpillars be.
If you’d like to see what the caterpillars looked like when the procession was over, last year, click here!