|6th Aug 2011, Fife, Scotland||Photo: © John Brailsford|
|13th June 2008, path to Satura Crag, Patterdale.||Photo: © RWD|
|Dark chocolate brown with several narrow cream coloured stripes running lengthways.|
Uniquely identifiable characteristics
Distinguishing Feature : The antler-like pale markings on the top of the wings.
The Antler Moth caterpillar invades upland areas in July to August on a fairly regular basis, about every 9 years. The last major invasion was in 2008 when 30,000 million caterpillars hatched on the upland moors of Cumbria around Glenridding, Patterdale, Angle Tarn, Helvellyn and Skiddaw. It is not known how many went on to become Antler Moths, but it must be a very small fraction, but the caterpillars provided a great feast for the birds. Unfortunately, the caterpillars ate a lot of the upland fauna and flora as they grew bigger, causing a great deal of damage (leaving no vegetation for the upland sheep to eat). The caterpillars eat mostly at night, and when full, pupate in a cocoon amidst the roots of grasses.
The density of the caterpillars on the ground was such that every footfall was bound to trample on several at a time. The reason for the huge area over which the caterpillars were found is that the eggs of the caterpillar are, most unusually, dropped in profusion by female Antler Moths in flight.
|Cerapterix||graminis||⇐ Global Aspect ⇒||Noctuidae|