Found in peatstack this morning! About 25mm long.
No interactions present.
As one who is easily confused by moths, I am a bit hesitant about getting into this debate, but I would be surprised at an early instar Fox Moth in February. They should all have hibernated as the bright red-brown fully grown larvae, so many of which were posted here during the autumn. Northern Eggar, on the other hand, is likely to have a two-year cycle in Lewis, overwintering as a young larva to complete development this year. See plate in http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1605.
recording wildlife with The Recorder's Year on www.hbrg.org.uk/TRY.html.
Seeing that the Northern Eggar does look more likely, and explains the shorter hairs and colouring. Going off Syrphus link above is certainly seems to resemble something between the "early instar" and "second instar".
Have a look at his thread which I was involved in some time ago.
I think its definiatly an oak Eggar catterpillar .
I tend to think Oak Eggar, but no oak round here (?). The other two poss IDs are quite common and I have never seen a small one of those. Any other ideas...?
Oak Eggar feeds on heather, bilberry, bramble, blackthorn, hawthorns, sallows, hazel, sea-buckthorn and other woody plants.
According to the foodplant database (http://www.nhm.ac.uk/jdsml/research-curation/research/projects/hostplant...) there are some records of it eating Oak from Europe.
So I don't think the lack of oak in the area really means much.
The link I posted above says 'The Oak Eggar, despite its name, does not feed on Oak, but is so-called because the shape of its cocoon is acorn-like.' So the absence of Oak is irrelevant. This eggar is a common insect of heather moorland in N Scotland.
Despite my discomfort with moths, I have no doubt that this is Oak (= Northern) Eggar.
Lat/Lng: 58, -6
OS grid ref: NB637081
The location is extremely vague as the 'map' is totally non working!