Tag Archives: Puss Moth

The Life-cycle of the Puss Moth in a Tividale garden

Do you have willow or poplar trees in your garden? If so, it’s worth searching for the fascinating caterpillars of the Puss Moth. They are frequent visitors to a local garden on the Rowley Hills where the residents have regularly studied their progress from eggs through to adult moths.

Mated pair of Puss Moths (image © Julia Morris)

Once mating has taken place the female moths deposit small batches of brownish-coloured eggs on leaves of their food plant, in this case two small willow trees in their back garden.

Puss Moth eggs on willow leaves (image © Mike Poulton)

Upon hatching the young caterpillars feed almost constantly for around four weeks and pass through several stages until fully grown.

Young caterpillar well camouflaged on willow shoot (image © Mike Poulton)

Early stage of caterpillar growth (image © Andy Purcell)

In some years predation by birds, wasps and even Harlequin Ladybirds takes a heavy toll, but generally enough of them survive to maturity, ensuring there will be moths again the following year.

Adult caterpillar in disturbed posture, with raised head and pinkish flagellae extending from the twin tails

They spend the winter in a tough cocoon attached to tree trunks or wooden posts, then the newly-emerged moths seek out the food plant, and the cycle begins again.

Vacated Puss Moth cocoon attached to the side of an old wooden table in their garden

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Weird and wonderful creatures in Rowley Hills gardens!

Do you have willows or poplars growing in your garden? If so, look out for the fascinating caterpillars of the Puss Moth which feed on the leaves. These photos were taken a couple of days ago in a garden on the edge of the Rowley Hills. Puss Moths are named for the fuzzy grey fur covering the adult moth’s body, and although the caterpillars can look rather strange they are harmless as long as they aren’t disturbed.

Puss Moth caterpillar (Cerura vinula) (image © Mike Poulton)

Puss Moth caterpillar (Cerura vinula) (image © Mike Poulton)

Puss Moth caterpillar (Cerura vinula) (image © Mike Poulton)

Puss Moth caterpillar (Cerura vinula) (image © Mike Poulton)

Puss Moth caterpillar (Cerura vinula) (image © Mike Poulton)

Puss Moth caterpillar (Cerura vinula) (image © Mike Poulton)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s not just the wide open spaces here on the Rowley Hills that contain wildlife. There’s plenty to see in your own back garden if you take the time to look – if you’ve seen anything interesting let us know in the comments below or via our Facebook or Twitter pages!