Peta's picture

Buff Ermine (Spilosoma luteum) caterpillar_

Observed: 24th September 2012 By: PetaPeta’s reputation in Invertebrates

Caterpillar found in urban garden, Norwich.
On asparagus pea plant. First seen 11/09/12 about 2cm long. Paler Greeny yellow in early instar. Have been rearing it in captivity, it ate a variety of leaves. Now very active and not eating much. We wonder if it has specific needs as a pupa.

Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Buff Ermine (Spilosoma luteum) interacts


Donald Hobern's picture

Sounds like it is ready to pupate

I'd place it in a sheltered box with some soil, leaf litter and foodplant and it should find a place to pupate.

Donald Hobern

GrizzledBadger's picture

Before pupation caterpillars

Before pupation caterpillars need to clear- out the gut, moving around probably helps the process. They often have a colour change too, the hair being shed to be incorporated into the cocoon.


Peta's picture

Buff ermine caterpillar

Thanks for help with ID and advice.
Indeed the caterpillar did pupate the next day
making a chrysallis inside a cocoon of silk and hair. I'll add photo.
It is the most interesting caterpillar i have raised...and I have counted 6 more maturing on my herbs!
Should I keep it safe in the shed over winter or on house until spring?

DavidHowdon's picture

Shed or house

If you keep it in the shed it is more likely to emerge at its 'natural' time. If you bring it indoors it could well emerge somewhat earlier due to the extra warmth.