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Thursday, 30 July 2020

Giant Peacock Moth caterpillar

I certainly wasn't expecting to post so soon after the last post, however when Keith came across something absolutely amazing whilst pruning the laurel hedge, it just had to be shared!

Saturnia pyri, the Giant Peacock Moth

He called me, saying "You've got to come and see this - I almost chopped it in half". I wasn't sure what it would be, half expecting a bird nest (we have held back on hedge pruning precisely because of bird breeding season). However, when I saw this gigantic caterpillar I could barely believe my eyes. It is HUGE! I thought at first, it must be a hawkmoth, then remembered the caterpillar he saw crossing the road back in Brittany that turned out to be an Emperor Moth larva. That had similar markings. A quick google revealed that it is indeed the big brother of the Emperor Moth, the Giant Peacock Moth. They both look very similar but the Giant Peacock is larger, and is in fact the largest moth in Europe. Fancy finding one in my backyard!!! Wow! Of course a photo session was called for - we cut off the branch it was holding onto as it was one that needed pruning anyway, and after K finished pruning he wedged it back into the hedge, and it soon moved off to another branch and started munching.

So here's a little photoshoot.... it is rather cute, despite its size! The background is a terracotta tile, not a hand. It's on top of the water butt.


Back end

Front end - it was 'sleeping' so had its head
curled inwards, hiding its true legs.


Showing its prolegs, which are the cute red hairy things holding onto the branch.



Cetainly an absolutely brilliant find but now of course I wish I had my moth trap as it would be rather nice to see the moth. 😀 Funnily enough, someone I know posted one of these caterpillars on facebook on the same day! Hope that means there are plenty of them around at the moment.

This is the only link I can find in English that gives info on this moth and its habitat, host plants etc: http://www.pyrgus.de/Saturnia_pyri_en.html
 

P.S. 3 posts in July!!! That's as many as the entire posts I managed in 2018 and 2019 combined! I do hope this means I am getting my blogging mojo back.

8 comments:

  1. Great find, Mandy and something well worth blogging about!
    I would have been tempted to keep it and watch the metamorphosis but you do have cats to help you so maybe that would have been risky.
    I bet you'll keep a keen eye open when moths start flying at the outdoor lights!
    Looking forward to seeing more amazing creatures from your new home in the south!
    Kim x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hiya Kim and thanks. It never occurred to me to raise the caterpillar (how times have changed!) but I would have to keep it safe somewhere over winter as the moths don't fly until about April. Hopefully I will see the adult at some point in the future!

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  2. Wow! What a great find and what a super caterpillar. Your photos are wondeful Mandy. Do hope you have your blogging mojo back as you have been missed!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Caroline and thank you. I do want to blog at times, but just don't get around to sorting through my photos! Sometimes a post like this is easier, but of course I will need to find more amazing creatures. :-)

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  3. Fabulous find! Aren't we lucky to have guys in our life who look for things for us :-) Fab photos. Fingers crossed you see an adult!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Marianne! I'm so pleased you looked in to my blog as I haven't shared all these pics on other social media. Yes, Keith finds quite a lot of interesting critters for me, great isn't it?! :-)

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  4. Thank heaven for Keith! 😁

    And what an amazing larva this is Mandy. Beautiful creature. Such a gift to find in your own garden as well.

    Hopefully a few finds like this will be enough to rekindle your interest in blogging.

    JJ.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much JJ. We have been finding some interesting creatures in the new garden, despite the fact that it is a low maintenance one with a few hedges, shrubs and trees. No woodland or wild areas here, and the lake was replaced by a swimming pool (lol). But when I saw this I almost immediately blogged about it, I just HAD to! :-)

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