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Help with caterpillar ID

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Old Saturday 17th June 2006, 15:46   #1
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Help with caterpillar ID

I found this caterpillar in my garden today, it is small, about 1cm long but is quite distinctive, with horn like tufts on it's head & orange spots on the body.
I have attached a poor photo of it, but hopefully it will be enough for someone to help with it's identity.
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Old Saturday 17th June 2006, 15:55   #2
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I think it's the vapourer
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Old Saturday 17th June 2006, 16:03   #3
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Thanks Ken, it certainly looks similar, I guess it has quite a bit of growing to do.

I will offer it different leaves to try & find out the food plant, hopefully I will be able to rear it.
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Old Saturday 17th June 2006, 18:10   #4
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Hawthorn if you have it.
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Old Saturday 17th June 2006, 20:07   #5
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There are no Hawthorn bushes in the garden so it must have been on some other deciduous bush.

It hasn't touched any of the leaves so far, but perhaps it only feeds at night?
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Old Saturday 17th June 2006, 20:45   #6
harry eales
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 400mark
There are no Hawthorn bushes in the garden so it must have been on some other deciduous bush.

It hasn't touched any of the leaves so far, but perhaps it only feeds at night?
I agree it's a Vapourer. They will eat a large number of of plants from Calluna to Sallow. Leave half a dozen different leaves from your garden in a box with the larva and see which one it selects. If it touches none of them try another half dozen.

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Old Saturday 17th June 2006, 21:00   #7
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Thanks Harry.
I have given it a selection of leaves & will see if it has touched any in the morning. If it hasn't eaten them I will try some other varieties of leaves but I'll let it go if I can't find the food plant.
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Old Sunday 18th June 2006, 08:23   #8
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I may be wrong but I seem to remember that mine liked bramble leaves, too.
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Old Sunday 18th June 2006, 11:37   #9
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I may be wrong but I seem to remember that mine liked bramble leaves, too.
Ken
Overwintered some vapourer eggs from last year and just finished hatching >100 pupae. We experimented with different foodplants and found they preferred sloe - they would eat birch, hawthorn and bramble but only when sloe wasn't available (actually started them on birch).

Had a lot of fun with the adults and it was a great education for the kids... It's too early for wild adults and so we released batches of our males (dayfliers) up to 1/4 mile downwind from the house and then put the flightless females outside. Amazing to see the males winging their way back home as they followed the females' pheremone plume. Every female attracted at least one male, and we know there were no wild males about because none came in (over a two day period) until we started releasing ours. How can these little moths accurately follow a weak "smell" over such a distance!? Mind-boggling, how does a brain the size of a pinhead do that? The kids (and me) were facinated by it.

Incidentally, anyone know of a good way of marking moths/butterflies for ID purposes? We tried snopake, paint and food dye but none was satisfactory (stuck wings together or just ran off the scales).
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Old Sunday 18th June 2006, 11:44   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Francis
Overwintered some vapourer eggs from last year and just finished hatching >100 pupae. We experimented with different foodplants and found they preferred sloe - they would eat birch, hawthorn and bramble but only when sloe wasn't available (actually started them on birch).

Had a lot of fun with the adults and it was a great education for the kids... It's too early for wild adults and so we released batches of our males (dayfliers) up to 1/4 mile downwind from the house and then put the flightless females outside. Amazing to see the males winging their way back home as they followed the females' pheremone plume. Every female attracted at least one male, and we know there were no wild males about because none came in (over a two day period) until we started releasing ours. How can these little moths accurately follow a weak "smell" over such a distance!? Mind-boggling, how does a brain the size of a pinhead do that? The kids (and me) were facinated by it.

Incidentally, anyone know of a good way of marking moths/butterflies for ID purposes? We tried snopake, paint and food dye but none was satisfactory (stuck wings together or just ran off the scales).
Gary
Amazing stuff, Gary. I only reared one larva which turned out to be a male, so no assembling.
I have heard of people using pens with indelible ink to mark spots on moths wings but I've never tried it.
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Old Sunday 18th June 2006, 20:30   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Surreybirder
Amazing stuff, Gary. I only reared one larva which turned out to be a male, so no assembling.
I have heard of people using pens with indelible ink to mark spots on moths wings but I've never tried it.
Ken
The one thing we didnt try was marker pens - next time I'll give that a go. Thanks for input.
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Old Monday 19th June 2006, 10:47   #12
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Mine is eating Victoria Plum leaves (its where it was found).
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Old Monday 19th June 2006, 18:38   #13
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I tried bramble and a few other leaves but the caterpillar didn't touch any of them so I let it go.

Hopefully I'll see some adult vapourers later in the year.
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Old Monday 19th June 2006, 21:13   #14
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It may be about to cast its skin. I noticed that mine didn't eat all the time. It probably has a better chance of survival as your 'pet' than in the wild.
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