Time of the year for big­gest cater­pil­lars

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Kent Business Update -

It is that time of the year when I start to get phone calls and emails, plus tubs be­ing de­liv­ered to my home and the of­fice with an enor­mous cater­pil­lar in it, which some­one has found in their gar­den. The back­ground story is usu­ally that it was found crawl­ing across the path or when tidy­ing up in the flowerbed. The cater­pil­lar is the ele­phant hawk moth cater­pil­lar and it is one of the largest cater­pil­lars that can be found in the UK. It has a lit­tle horn on the back of the cater­pil­lar. The cater­pil­lar it­self is a dark brown with big whitish cir­cles or “eyes” on ei­ther side of the head end. These are used to con­fuse and pos­si­bly scare off would-be at­tack­ers. The cater­pil­lar through Septem­ber has munched its way through ei­ther wil­lowherb species in the wild or, in sub­ur­ban gar­dens, the fuch­sia. The cater­pil­lar goes on a walk­a­bout to find a suit­able place to pu­pate, which is ideally some soft soil. From there it emerges the fol­low­ing late spring into a beau­ti­ful pink and olive brown hawk moth to start the whole life cy­cle again.

For more in­for­ma­tion con­tact Owen Leyshon, Rom­ney Marsh Coun­try­side Part­ner­ship, tele­phone 01797 367934 or log on to www.rmcp.co.uk

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