Quite apart from looking astonishing, even in the strange and wonderful company of moth caterpillars generally (which, interestingly, are much more colourful than butterflies' although the latter get their own back as adult insects), they have whips on their tail to deter predators such as ichneumon wasps. These have a nasty habit of laying eggs inside caterpillars which hatch and then eat their hosts alive. Swish, flick. You're not getting away with that on a Puss Moth larva.
Anyway, over to J-P and his wife Kate who sorted the pic together:
I thought you might like two (slightly blurry) photos of what I believe was a Spanish puss moth, taken on my parents' balcony in Spain (unsurprisingly). It was a little shorter than my little finger, maybe an inch and a half, and seemed to be wearing an ermine stole (more like a White Ermine, in fact, than the White Ermine itself.)
We were near Valencia, right by the coast. There's woodland nearby but not what you'd call forest: it can get quite dry and scrubby round there. It landed in the late afternoon and was quite groggy and sleepy; I picked it up on a piece of paper and put it into a damp pot plant where it would be hidden from any predators; by the morning it was gone, so I can only hope for the best.
Do feel free to share these photos and the story on your blog, if the quality of either is good enough!
It certainly is. Thanks very much again and to Kate. And here's a Puss Moth caterpillar to end with, courtesy of the Natural History Museum. I hope I come across one myself, one day.