04/07/2012

DEATHS HEAD MOTH

For the nature-lovers among you - this is one of the caterpillars chomping its merry way through my daughter's rooftop garden at the moment.
Credit for the photographs goes to my daughter.
These caterpillars can strip every leaf from a large tropical climbing plant in a day, which my daughter is happy about in view of my son-in-law's reluctance to prune anything as severely as he should..
They grow fast - this one will double in size before it pupates - and any sensible cat leaves it well alone. They exude an unpleasant irritant and they probably taste disgusting.
Looked at dispassionately, they are attractive creatures, but surprisingly difficult to find despite their size, and the lemon ripening in the background of the picture above is the same colour as this caterpillar.
They also come in a brown pattern. A friend saw one on a bar terrace and thought it was a dog turd until it moved!


My son-in-law showed me my first two - he had caught them in a plastic box and was taking them to the park.
 "Listen to this," he said, and flicked the box with his fingernail.
The damn things reared up and hissed at him!

Their cat caught one of the moths once and brought it downstairs to show them. It was the size of two spread hands and it was screaming.
They caught the cat and released the moth, which immediately flew back upstairs, out of the door and carried on laying its eggs on their plants.

9 comments:

  1. An amazing looking creature if not a mite bit creepy. Nice photos.


    Lee
    A Faraway View

    ReplyDelete
  2. wow i love things like catapillars and butterflies etc but i'd probably be a bit freaked out if i saw one of them in the garden.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow, hissing caterpillars and screaming moths... I think I'll pass, thanks :-)

    ReplyDelete
  4. At least these are big enough to find if you look hard enough. the ones that have attacked the OH's prized chilli plants while he's been away are too small for my weak eyes and I only found (and squashed) two.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Now those are some interesting caterpillars. Never seen them that big before. A moth the size you describe would probably give me something of a fright. I imagine they're good fodder for a story.

    ReplyDelete
  6. JLC - the moths are lovely and graceful and slow and you can see them coming - it's the little flitting ones I can't stand.

    ReplyDelete
  7. It looks great in those pictures, but I wouldn't want one in my garden!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hmmm. I'm kinda glad that green creature isn't in my garden. I'd be very reluctant to remove it if it hissed at me. :D

    ReplyDelete
  9. And I always thought how idyllic it sounded living where you live... I've changed my mind!!! *shudders*

    ReplyDelete

Leave a comment, please - I will reply to everyone.