Thursday, 29 April 2010

Caterpillar Cleverness!

Back in September I blogged about some tiny caterpillars I'd seen that seemed to be camping out:



Yesterday we were in the same spot - my how they've grown!



The wardens have now helpfully put up some information posters, so I now know they are Brown Tail Moths who very cleverly lay their eggs in webs so that they can overwinter and be first to nibble the lush spring growth. (They can cause allergic reactions, so be careful when inspecting them!)

The other interesting fact I learnt was that most birds can't eat them, only cuckoos. Ideal for raising baby cuckoos, I thought..and then remembered that cuckoos abandon their eggs to be fostered by other birds...who can't tolerate the caterpillars. So Mother Nature has arranged for greedy neglectful cuckoo parents to feast, whilst foster parents have to raise the baby cuckoos amidst an abundance of food that they can't collect. Bizarre.

I *might* be overthinking this...

3 comments:

Tilly said...

Definitely not over-thinking it. You are right - that is bizarre!

lyptis said...

What weird facts!

Im not sure about the caterpillars tho, they are kindof icky!:P

Eileen said...

I could have told you that! We have to help out with this stuff for Cityparks. They're bad for asthmatics, them lot, because of the tiny hairs.