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PUSS MOTH

Ceruna vinula

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31st Aug 2011, forest track, Cefn Coch Forest, Llanwrtyd wells, Wales. Photo: © RWD
A hairless fat caterpillar rather slug-like in shape. Two highly distinctive narrow white stripes run the length of the body, on either side of the top, moving further apart in the middle and nearer at both ends. These two lines split the caterpillar into two areas, a disgustingly yellowish-green underbelly and a patterned brown upper. Tail at left, head on the right.


31st Aug 2011, forest track, Cefn Coch Forest, Llanwrtyd wells, Wales. Photo: © RWD
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31st Aug 2011, forest track, Cefn Coch Forest, Llanwrtyd wells, Wales. Photo: © RWD
Rolled unceremoniously onto its side five pairs of stubby prolegs are visible in the middle whilst at the front are three pairs of striped conical true legs.


31st Aug 2011, forest track, Cefn Coch Forest, Llanwrtyd wells, Wales. Photo: © RWD
When disturbed, as here, it pulls its head back inside its thorax. Distinctive red ring around its head, and two black spots resembling eyes. Several pairs of prolegs each side.


31st Aug 2011, forest track, Cefn Coch Forest, Llanwrtyd wells, Wales. Photo: © RWD
The tail end has two modified claspers, patterned grey and black, from which, when disturbed, it spins fine red threads and waves them about.


31st Aug 2011, forest track, Cefn Coch Forest, Llanwrtyd wells, Wales. Photo: © RWD
Patterned back of white streaks reminiscent of ripples in the sand on a receding tide.


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The caterpillar is highly distinctive and cannot be mistaken for any other (apart from other Puss Moth caterpillars such as Alder Kitten Moth (Furcula bicuspis), Sallow Kitten Moth (Furcula furcula) and Poplar Kitten Moth (Furcula bifida)), but finding it amongst leaves can be problematic as it is well camouflaged. However, these other caterpillars are differently coloured. The above specimen was found very exposed in the middle of a slated forest track where the harvesting of coniferous trees had taken place, and was thus easy to spot. However, young caterpillars are jet black or chocolate brown and therefore much more like slugs.


  Ceruna vinula  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Notodontidae  

PUSS MOTH

Ceruna vinula

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