Please can someone explain what is happening here! Is the caterpillar emerging from the white, web-like substance or has it been imprisoned? It looked sort of like a spiders web.
No identification made yet.
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It could be it building its cocoon
I didn't realise that cocoons start off as kind of fluffy substances! How long does it take to build?
Im not sure but no doubt there are different types of cocoon construction if thats what it is , its the only thing i could think of :)
I have just googled "types of caterpillar cocoon " and there are some like yours
I don't think this is a cocoon - in most cocoons you can see the strands of silken thread from which they are constructed, but this looks more like a mass of fungal filaments (hyphae). Also, Cinnabar caterpillars descend to ground level to pupate, and make a fairly minimal cocoon.
I can't find any information about fungus attacks on Cinnabar larvae though (although there is mention of fungi causing mortality in the pupal stage).
See also another recent Cinnabar observation at:
Entomologist and biological recorder
Have never seen this before but noticed very similar example this afternoon after looking at the OP earlier. On grass, in short cut meadow environment. Just the one we could find.
We could do with identifying the caterpillar first, while I know how a cocoon is made there are variations of cocoon and I'm not saying it is it was just a suggestion as I have never come across one like it either but it could be a type of protection like in brown-tail moth caterpillars and numerous other ones , yes again most of these are in huge numbers covering whole trees or hedges etc but if this caterpillar is emerging as the description implies then I wouldn't think it was a microbial fungus and I would think that if the fungus had got to such a mass then the caterpillar wouldn't still look unharmed .. so I am still thinking some sort of protective cover BUT I am no expert ... also you say Cinnabar caterpillar , well unless I am wrong they are bright yellow and black strips not the one pictured ... be great to find out what it is and what type of caterpillar it is :)
Ooh, sorry, I had somehow jumped to the conclusion that it was a Cinnabar, not sure how/why I did that!
No worries :)
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