Mint Moth Caterpillar

Pyrausta aurata

Mint Moth Pyrausta aurata larva

I found these caterpillars on Water Mint growing in my garden pond. The bottom two images show early stage larvae which I discovered on my shed wall. Note the difference in colours.

Mint Moth Pyrausta aurata larva

The larva feeds on the leaves and flowers of various species of mint, including wild and cultivated varieties. They also feed on Marjoram, Dead-nettle,  and other Labiataes and herbs. More mature larvae spin a web, a silken retreat, on the foodplant from which they feed.

Mint Moth Pyrausta aurata larva

They are seen June and July, and into the autumn. The autumn generation hibernate in their cocoons

Mint Moth Pyrausta aurata larva

See about adult here.

© Pete Hillman June and September 2017.

 

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Oak Eggar Caterpillar

Lasiocampa quercus
Oak Eggar Lasiocampa quercus

I came across this striking hairy caterpillar as it crawled over a sea wall when I was on a visit to Llandudno, Wales. They do not feed on oak as the English name leads us to believe, but its cocoon looks much like an acorn. The hairs may cause skin irritation, which is the caterpillar’s defense mechanism. They can grow up to 80mm long.

Oak Eggar Lasiocampa quercus

The larva can take a year to grow in the south, and two years further norther where it is cooler. They feed quite rapidly and change appearance as they grow which can make them hard to identify compared to other Eggars. It feeds on a variety of plants, including heather and bramble.

Oak Eggar Lasiocampa quercus

© Pete Hillman April 2014, West Shore, Llandudno, Wales

Bright-line Brown-eye Lacanobia oleracea

Noctuidae » Hadeninae

Bright-line Brown-eye Lacanobia oleracea

73.267 (BF2160) Bright-line Brown-eye Lacanobia oleracea (Linnaeus, 1758)

Wingspan 32-37mm. Forewing length 14-19mm.

The shade of the brown forewing may vary a little. Note the ‘brown-eye’, the kidney-mark with the bright orange blotch in the centre, and the white cross-line forming a ‘W’.

The adult flies May to July, and is found in various habitats, including suburban gardens. Common and widespread. The larva feeds on a wide variety of wild and cultivated herbaceous and woody plants.

© Pete Hillman July 2015.

Green Long-horn Adela reaumurella

Adelidae » Adelinae

Green Long-horn Adela reaumurella

7.006 (BF150) Green Long-horn Adela reaumurella (Linnaeus, 1758)

Wingspan 14-18mm. Forewing length 7-9mm.

The above image is of the male with his extraordinary long  white antennae, which are three times the length of the forewing. The forewing can have a dark green or bluish-green tint, sometimes with a golden tint.

The adult flies in May and June, and in the daytime, where they may swarm. Found in woodland and heathland, amongst other habitats. Common in England and Wales, more local elsewhere, but widespread. The larva feeds on dead leaves on the ground.

© Pete Hillman May 2015, local wood, Staffordshire.

Lobster Moth Stauropus fagi

Notodontidae » Dicranurinae

Lobster Moth Stauropus fagi

71.009 (BF1999) Lobster Moth Stauropus fagi (Linnaeus, 1758)

Wingspan 45-60mm. Forewing length 24-33mm.

Now this rather unusual moth looks like it could be a furry pet. A large distinctive moth which rests with its hindwings protruding beyond the edge of the forewings.

Lobster Moth Stauropus fagi

The adult flies  May to July. It is attracted to light. Found in mature woodland. Widespread and common in the south of Britain. The larva feeds on birch, beech, oak and various other trees. The moth gets its name from the larva which looks like a crustacean.

Lobster Moth Stauropus fagi

Lobster Moth Stauropus fagi

© Pete Hillman June 2013.

November Moth Epirrita dilutata

Geometridae » Larentiinae

November Moth Epirrita dilutata

70.107 (BF1795) November Moth Epirrita dilutata ([Denis & Schiffermüller], 1775)

Wingspan 38-44mm. Forewing length 15-20mm.

There are four species of Epirrita found in Britain, and all are very similar and variable within themselves, meaning positive identification can normally only be made via genitalia examination. Therefore, these images are only representative of the species.

November Moth Epirrita dilutata

The adult flies from September to November, and it can be found in a wide variety of habitats, including broadleaved woodland and gardens. Common and widespread throughout. The larva feeds on a variety of trees and shrubs.

November Moth Epirrita dilutata

© Pete Hillman October 2017.

Green-brindled Crescent Allophyes oxyacanthae

Noctuidae » Psaphidinae

Green-brindled Crescent Allophyes oxyacanthae ab capucina

73.068 (BF2245) Green-brindled Crescent Allophyes oxyacanthae (Linnaeus, 1758)

Wingspan 35-45mm. Forewing length 17-20mm.

The photographs featured here are of the melanic form ab. capucina which is commonly found in suburban areas and has less green than the typical form.

Green-brindled Crescent Allophyes oxyacanthae ab capucina

The adult flies September to November, and is found in woodland, hedgerows and gardens. Fairly common and widespread. The larva feeds on various trees and shrubs, including hawthorns and Blackthorn.

Green-brindled Crescent Allophyes oxyacanthae ab capucina

© Pete Hillman October 2017.