Hanging Caterpillars


Hanging Caterpillars

You may have found a number of little hitchhikers on your clothing after leaving the Wood.


These were most probably caterpillars of the Winter Moth (Operophtera brumata). These young larvae hatch in Spring and crawl up tree trunks where they drop on silken threads that can carry them in the wind to new areas, or onto you as you walk beneath the trees! This dispersal method is called “ballooning”.


The caterpillars are green loopers with pale lines on the sides and a darker one along the top. They are between 5mm and 10mm in length at this stage.



The Winter Moth is abundant in Europe and one of very few moths in which the adults are active here in the depth of winter, hence the name.



The content of this post is licensed under the Creative Commons BY-SA License. It contains material modified from the Wikipedia article on the “Winter Moth”.

This message was added on Monday 31st May 2010

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