Sep 18 2021

Caterpillars on the move: Part 3

This is one of the best times of year for moth caterpillar spotting! Here is the first of four articles highlighting moths whose caterpillars you have a good chance of seeing. These moths overwinter as caterpillars and, with autumn upon us, they are on the move…

Drinker moth

This caterpillar has a habit of drinking drops of dew from grass stems – hence its name, the drinker moth! It is most frequently to be found feeding on tall grasses and reeds in marshland, ditches and riversides, but also feeds on grasses in drier places, including gardens.

Not yet fully grown at this time of the year, it will be spending the winter as a small caterpillar low down in vegetation. With the arrival of spring, it will resume feeding until fully grown, prior to pupating within a papery cocoon formed on a grass or reed stem.

Photograph of an attractive dark caterpillar with brown hairs, golden speckles and a row of white hairs runs down each side of the body.

Drinker moth caterpillar © lachsschaumspeise

The adults fly at night between July and August, and the males – which seem particularly attracted to light – commonly feature in moth traps.

Photograph of a orange-brown moth with fluffy body and a prominent snout.

Adult drinker moth © Tony Morris

Find out more on Butterfly Conservation’s website: Drinker moth.

Warden Mike



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