Caterpillar identification

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Jane W
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Caterpillar identification

Post by Jane W »

Does anyone know what this caterpillar may be? I found it yesterday ( 8Oct) on the ground. It was underneath hazel, silver birch and oak trees, next to a meadow. The meadow is very rich in all kinds of wildflowers and grasses, so probably no point trying to list them all. It is a 'medium sized caterpillar, is, about 3cm long ish.
Attachments
Mystery caterpillar
Mystery caterpillar
Colours
Colours
Caterpillar
Caterpillar
Alice
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Re: Caterpillar identification

Post by Alice »

I thought maybe Heath Fritillary because the caterpillar has similar colours, but in your pictures I don't see the tufts that are evident in the picture in my insect book. If it is one of those there must be some cow wheat around.
The only other one that looks similar is the mullein moth, but the head looks wrong.
Nigel Spring
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Re: Caterpillar identification

Post by Nigel Spring »

This is the larva of a sawfly, one of the larger ones in the genus Abia, probably Abia sericea, the Orange-horned Scabious Sawfly, whose larva feeds on Field Scabious and Devil'sbit Scabious. Beautiful insect.
Your side view shows very clearly the large number of prolegs that sawfly larvae have - this feature distinguishes them from butterflies and moths.
Alice
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Re: Caterpillar identification

Post by Alice »

Thank you for this identification. It's helped solve a puzzle for me - a load of caterpillars munching their way through all the leaves on our little silver birch: they are Birch Sawfly larvae. Of course they weren't in my butterflies/moths book!
Jane W
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Re: Caterpillar identification

Post by Jane W »

Thankyou very much for the identification...I would never have guessed it was a sawfly larvae, so I've really learnt something new!
Like you Alice, I was thinking that colours are sometimes a good clue to the puzzle, and was wondering if it was a hummingbird hawk moth caterpillar...but my ( admittedly not very good) books, showed that as bright green and quite different.
Having looked the sawfly up, I now recognise that I've taken a photo of it a few years ago. It is a really lovely insect you're right....it's metallic sheen of yellowy green is beautiful. They often sit on the squash leaves in the garden, baski g in the sun.
The meadow behind is full of Devils Bit Scabious.
Many thanks....
Attachments
Newly identified Abia sericea!
Newly identified Abia sericea!
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