foxy's picture


Observed: 10th May 2010 By: foxyfoxy’s reputation in Invertebratesfoxy’s reputation in Invertebratesfoxy’s reputation in Invertebratesfoxy’s reputation in Invertebrates

A black spiny caterpillar with red head I found feeding on cocksfoot grass and others on hogweed in rolledup leaves,

Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Timothy Tortrix (Aphelia paleana) interacts


Vinny's picture

Not Peacock

Wrong foodplants for a start - they feed pretty much on stinging nettle. Peacock caterpillars are a true black with clear white spots and the spines are also black. This could well be some kind of tortrix moth or relative species.

Kind Regards


foxy's picture


Hi Vinny,
thanks for that id. checked area again today lots of them on grass all about 20-22mm long.

regards foxy


RHoman's picture

Might not be paleana after all

Just checked the distribution map for Aphelia unitana, which seems to be well-recorded in the far south of Ireland. It could therefore be this species. Does anyone know of a description of the unitana larva?

Robert Homan

Martin Harvey's picture


Robert, in "British Tortricoid Moths" (Bradley, Tremewan and Smith 1973) it says that "so far as is known it [the larva of unitana] resembles that of paleana in appearance", and they share a similar range of foodplants, so it might be better to be cautious and identify to genus only. They also imply that A. unitana is more restricted to limestone areas than A. paleana, but caution that its distribution is not well-known due to the similaraity of the two species.

Having said that, it appears that there is still some debate over whether paleana and unitana are actually two species or not!

Entomologist and biological recorder