Wednesday, 11 June 2014

A rather gruesome surprise

This year I have been making a concerted effort to record more lepidoptera larvae, and in particular moth larvae. To that end I have been visiting various sites with a beating tray to collect caterpillars off a selection of trees and shrubs. So far Andy and myself have managed to find nearly 50 species and I will post photos of some of the more interesting finds later in the year.

On Sunday I beat a Grey Shoulder-knot caterpillar off oak at MVCP during a BNHS meeting. I took it home as I didn't know what it was. On Sunday evening it was fine and I photographed it.

Grey Shoulder-knot                                                   photo Melissa Banthorpe

I checked it on Monday and it was still looking ok but it hadn't eaten much. On Tuesday evening I checked it again and got a bit of a shock.

Grey Shoulder-knot with added extras                      photo Melissa Banthorpe
It was no longer moving and appeared to be stuck to the leaf with several cocoons attached to it. I've seen parasitised larvae before where there have been a few cocoons but nothing quite to this extent.

No comments: