Saturday, 27 July 2013

The very hungry caterpillars

Poor Mr SDS.  I don’t know how to contain my excitement sometimes but I have to tell someone, and inevitably it’s him.  I run into the house, eyes gleaming, and exclaim:

“I’ve just seen two slugs mating!”
“A massive hornet flew right past me and I felt it brush against my arm!”
“I was sitting on the bench and a cockchafer landed on my knee!”
“I found a sexton beetle in the compost bin!”
“I actually saw a spider take a shit just now!  Really!”

Etc.

There’s not a lot he can say, I know, because he doesn’t share my level of enthusiasm for creepy, crawly, slimy or flying, multi-legged, freaky-looking minibeasts and some of the weird and wonderful things that they do.

Here’s the latest.



Hundreds of newly-hatched ermine moth (I think) caterpillars that have created a web-like silk structure on some nettles in the garden and are now eating their way through the leaves: a stripey, writhing, wriggling, suspended, living mass.  I was fascinated and mesmerised by these tiny lifeforms that I noticed today, plus the fact that I’ve never seen so many caterpillars in one place.  I just wish I had someone to share it with who’d be even a fraction as interested in it as I am. 

So I put it on my blog.  Poor you.

12 comments:

  1. I love caterpillars and their goings on! When I was a kid on holiday in Cornwall, (I think it was The Lizard?) we saw a whole cliff top that caterpillars had wrapped in silk, EVERYTHING including people's cars. Obviously they had gotten a bit carried away and hopefully your lot won't go as crazy... of course, you may be in a cocoon wishing you hadn't been so lenient with them by now!

    Speaking of mini-beasts, I didn't actually SEE what did this but last weekend I was digging out a new bed behind the shed, it was ultra hot and all of a sudden I felt a sharp pain on my left knee and swatted something away. I thought nothing of it but my knee began to itch and I looked down a few minutes later and there was blood literally pouring from two tiny puncture wound on my knee! It swelled up quite badly and was hot and painful for a few days but now I just have this very red lump with the two marks very visible... most people seem to be voting for a Horsefly attack (someone died earlier this week!) but I have a feeling it had no wings and too many legs for comfort... I knew there was a reason I HATE those things!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your clifftop experience sounds amazing. Just been looking up about these caterpillars and there have been similar 'phenomena' to do with them around the country this year it seems - whole rows of trees being swathed in their silk and so on. But I'm pleased to report that I'm personally cocoon-free (so far) - torrential rain last night didn't do them any favours!

      Aargh, I do hope your bite heals quickly. A bit scary, that! I know some of 'those things' you refer to can bite - but I try not to think about it....

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  2. Lovely photo. Although you might not be so enamoured with creepy crawly slimy things if you grew veg. ;>)

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, I can't resist getting the camera out when I see things like that!

      Good point...! You're right, I don't grow veg...
      Mind you, I've been keeping my eye on my cocoon of caterpillars throughout the day - they survived the heavy rain last night but have since been targeted by wasps. As the hours have gone by, the wasps have been visiting frequently and taking them away to feed to their own larvae. I saw the numbers dwindle... and as I write this now, there is not one single caterpillar left :-(
      Natural pest control, I suppose....

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    2. Awwwww, that's so sad... still, I guess even wasps have to eat! :o(

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    3. It is, isn't it? (However, spotted another little web of even tinier ones thriving nearby...)

      And at least the wasps proved that they do play an important role in ecological balance, and are not just on this earth to spoil late summer picnics ;-)

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  3. The day you don't get excited about your little friends, then that would be a sad day, it is these pleasures that keep us going...fab pic!

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    Replies
    1. Glad you like the pic.
      And bless you for saying that, OPC - that is exactly how I feel :-)

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  4. Nature, eh? Isn't it great? I admire your mad enthusiasm and understand it completely as there's nothing better is there? By the way, been away but back now and will be catching up with older posts asap. Great photo.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks and yeah it is - it is great! Hope you had a great sojourn too, SB, and welcome back.

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  5. At first glance, the caterpillars on the nettle plant looked like a crocheted mohair scarf with purple beads (the caterpillars). I am a crocheter so maybe that is why the photo jumped to my mind in that scenario. Very amazing creatures. Glad you posted the photo.
    Teresa
    http://amagicalwhimsy.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks for dropping by, Teresa. I agree - yes they do look like crocheted mohair with beads! I hadn't looked at it like that before so that was really striking. I loved the imagery not just because I'm interested in what they are and their behaviour etc, but also because of that intricately patterned visual effect - now I'm wondering if it might inspire a scarf?!

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