Sunday, 21 February 2016

Puss Moth - One of Nature's Architects

Whilst working in woods near Flimwell, on the East Sussex and Kent border earlier in the week, I came across an empty cocoon on the trunk of a birch tree. Kitten Moths make very similar cocoons in which to pupate but the large size of this cocoon (40mm long) suggested Puss Moth (Cerura vinula).
 
It is a wonderful structure made from larval silk mixed with chewed up tree bark. It sets to a hard shell and is perfectly camouflaged to protect the over-wintering pupa.
 
They are also very hard to find and if it wasn't for the exit hole catching my eye then I may well not have seen it. The occupant of this cocoon probably hatched last summer but I suspect that these empty cocoons can last for years. 
 
 

 
The adult Puss Moth (Cerura vinula) is a stunning creature and a species that comes to my garden light-trap most years.


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