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