Lucy Corrander's picture

What is this colourful caterpillar?

Observed: 23rd June 2011 By: Lucy CorranderLucy Corrander’s reputation in InvertebratesLucy Corrander’s reputation in InvertebratesLucy Corrander’s reputation in Invertebrates

On baked earth track between reeds and grass and brambles on cliff top by sea.
About two inches long and elegant.
White, brown, blue, black, gold and grey stripes.
Pale brown/grey fringe along length brushing ground.

Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Lackey (Malacosoma neustria) interacts


Lucy Corrander's picture

To Lord Muzzy about Lackey caterpillars looking different.

Thanks for the ID.

I'm puzzled though.

I submitted a photo a few weeks ago of caterpillars which were also identified as of the Lacky moth.

They didn't look at all the same - didn't have the blue stripes, just boring green and black.

Looking at Google Images, both kinds turn up as Lackeys so I suppose it's an ugly duckling effect - they change as they grow - but I thought I'd check with you that this is how it works.


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rimo's picture

Yes, Lackeys, as with many

Yes, Lackeys, as with many other species, change their appearance as they move through the larval instars (see the Swallowtail butterfly or Emperor moth for extreme examples). Your previous observation was of early-instar larvae, whereas this is a final-instar larva

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