Winter Hiding, Spring Found


The weather has finally picked up this Easter holiday week, and the sun showed up and persuaded me to get busy in the garden. I lifted the top of my bird bath and what should I find hiding beneath in a finely woven silken retreat, but this larva of some species or another. I did not wish to disturb it any longer, so I took my shots and covered it back over again.


It does look  rather snug in there. Imagine having a bed and duvet like that?


Double click on images to enlarge.

April 2018, rear garden, Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman

Getting Some Shade

Geometer Moth Caterpillar

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Geometer moth caterpillar, also known as an ‘inchworm’, on rose leaf, taken August 2016, rear garden , Staffordshire, England.

Caterpillar Spinning Silk

Caterpillar Spinning Silk

I spotted this tiny caterpillar on a leaf of one of my rose bushes (this one seems to get a lot of caterpillar attention of various kinds for some reason), and it was weaving itself a little silk shelter of sorts.

Photograph of caterpillar spinning silk, taken August 2016, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.

Early Stage Caterpillar

Early Stage Caterpillar

I discovered this tiny early stage caterpillar on the underside of one of my rose leaves. I wonder what it will turn into?

Photograph  taken in July 2016, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D3200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.

Rose Ravagers

Whilst deadheading some roses in the garden, I came across these happy pair which had virtually munched their way through a whole rose-leaf. It is called Arge nigripes.

Notice how the one has it back-end in the end. This is a tell-tale sign that these are not your normal moth or butterfly caterpillar, but the larva of a species of sawfly. If disturbed they will whip their tails around to ward off predation, sometimes spraying a foul chemical. Another way to tell is that they have six or more prolegs, a few more than their lepidopteran friends.

They are quite gregarious creatures, so I guess I am fortunate to just have the two of them, as far as I could see. Although I did spot a bunch of other sawfly larvae shortly after, rapidly consuming fresh rose shoots, but that’s another story.

This one here is almost quite cute as he hugs the leaf and almost appears to smile …

In large numbers sawfly larvae can become a serious pest, but thankfully they appear to be doing but a little harm to my roses. And when viewed from above it has quite beautiful pale and dark green stripes running the length of it, and a darkish brown stripe on its head.

Sawflies belong to the order of insects called Hymenoptera, same as the bees, wasps and ants. Adult sawflies are harmless and do not sting. The females cut through plant tissue to lay their eggs inside. And the result are these hungry caterpillars.

Photographs taken July 2016, on rose-bush, rear garden, Staffordshire.

Hebrew Character Caterpillar

Orthosia gothica

I came across this caterpillar near my local pond on sedge. It feeds mainly at night in April to July, feeding on the buds at first and then the leaves. It feeds on a wide range of vegetation, including trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants. It overwinters as a pupa in a cocoon underground, with the fully formed adult inside it.

Photographs taken June 2011, local pond, Staffordshire.