I found this funky-looking caterpillar yesterday morning. It is from The Vapourer aka the Rusty Tussock Moth (Orgyia antiqua). The caterpillar looks a bit scary with its long hairs and red & yellow spots, but actually the hairs on this species are not irritating (to people at least). They are usually in birch or hazel trees, or other deciduous shrubs, but this one was in one of the flower beds. The moth is fairly dull,;chocolate brown with a white spot on each wing, but interesting in that, like the Winter Moth, the female is flightless.
After last week’s Vine Weevil, here’s another one from the rogues gallery of horrendous garden pests; a cutworm, so-called because of the way they nip off seedlings at ground level. These are moth caterpillars that live in the ground, coming out at night to voraciously munch their way around the garden. There are several species of noctuid moth that have ground-living larvae. This one might be from the Turnip Moth (Agrotis segetum), which has a particular reputation as an vegetable-growers nightmare; however due to the lack of features it’s hard to say. Not a very pretty thing either, but certainly looking well fed.