Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Follow my Leader

There are lots of reports in the moth world at the moment of a pest species, the Oak Processionary moth, which foresters greatly dislike for understandable, defoliating reasons.

It has an endearing habit, however, which is shared by these Pine Processionary moth caterpillars spotted in Cyprus in early March by a friend of ours, Derek Ivens.

You could read about the dark side of the PPM here but while acknowledging its harmful eating habits, I think that we are allowed to find its brotherly and sisterly travelling arrangements as quite touching.

I haven't lit the lamp for a second time this year yet but it's been a tonic, after the prolonged dreary weather, to see Brimstone, Orange Tip and Common Blue butterflies here when the sun does come out and has time to warm things up.

You can read plenty of interesting material about the Pine Processionary online, starting with good old Wikipedia. Processions may reach 300-strong and are very determined. The naturalist Fabre organised PP caterpillars into a circle with food just outside it and they marched round and round for a whole week. They also build nests, which is another appealing side to their character, at least for me.

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