lpearce's picture

Caterpillar of Six-striped rustic / Square spot rustic (Xestia sexstrigata / xanthographa)

Observed: 20th March 2011 By: lpearcelpearce’s reputation in Invertebrateslpearce’s reputation in Invertebrateslpearce’s reputation in Invertebrateslpearce’s reputation in Invertebrates

Digging up a old lawn and found this little caterpillar, it is about 15mm long.
Cannot find a match , the nearest was possibly Small Clouded Brindle, but not sure at all.

Species interactions

No interactions present.


RHoman's picture


I wonder if you have one of the Square-spot/Six-striped Rustic pair. The caterpillar looks a bit too smart for Small Clouded Brindle which ought anyway to be fully grown by now. In the curled up view I think you can see part of the broad, pale band along the side which characterises the 2 Xestia species in question. You have also got the bold white stripe along the back and the black half moons along the side next to the other white lines. Was it in the ground in at the base of a tussock of grass? When I cut some long, unkempt grass a few weeks ago I found several caterpillars just like this under the grass clippings which had been left on the ground for a few days.

Robert Homan

lpearce's picture

Thanks Robert,

Looking at your two suggestions on the http://www.ukleps.org/ site.
It does look very like the Square-spot Rustic in colour and markings. see http://www.ukleps.org/CommNamesAlphabetical.html
The Six-striped Rustic is shown as a green colour so thinking it is less likely.
see http://www.ukleps.org/CommNamesAlphabetical.html.

As to where I found I, when i said I was digging the lawn, we are talking the highlands here, it is more cut weeds than lawn.
I was moving a clod when I found it so am not really sure if it had been on the surface in the grass, or in the soil

Les Pearce
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Wildlife of Assynt