Last August, I blogged about our longest UK caterpillar, which Anna and I found on one of our favourite walks.
Roll on 11 months and I've only gone and found another ipsolute byoody. But this time in our garden.
This is the final instar larval stage of the Puss moth (Cerura vinula), so distinctive because of its:
1 - Size.
2 - Saddle mark on its back.
3 - Wine (or rather... port or porter!) colour.
Regarding point number 3 - this colour in fact gives the Puss moth its specific scientific name of vinula. (i.e. from the vine, black grape). Incidentally, while we're on the subject of the Puss moth's scientific name, its generic name of Cerura, means "horned". Look at its elongated anal claspers (in the video above, shot by me with one hand this afternoon - excuse the quality!) and you'll see why "horned" is an apt name indeed.
The Puss moth is so-called because it's... well... furry.
Cats are furry. This adult moth is furry. So we'll call it a cat (or puss) moth. That's the entirety of the logic there. Not this moth looks like a cat. We'll call it a puss moth then.
Could've called it a fortnight-old-dog-turd moth, to be honest. Looks more like a furry dog turd than it does a cat. At least to me.
As I've shown today - this is about the right time of year (and weather) for these big, fleshy, wine-coloured (vinula, remember) larvae to start dropping off poplar and willow trees and start to weave their incredibly strong cocoon on a piece of wood, bark or post - in which they'll stay for the next 9 months or so - before emerging as an adult
furry dog turd puss moth next spring.
We have a large number of (quite large) poplars in our back garden, so I hope to see more of these lovely caterpillars over the next few days, if I'm lucky.
And again, this afternoon, I think I've realised I am very lucky!
Make the most of this amazing weather eh, grapple fans.
And keep using your eyes!
I'm quite used to raising caterpillars into moths. Been doing so for a few years now.
I also know what the larval puss moth needs, in order to begin spinning its cocoon. Bark (or wood basically).
So this afternoon I provided it what it needed.
And within minutes... the caterpillar began spinning.
(I've literally just recorded the video below).