Skip to content

A Rather Clever Caterpillar

I imagine that not many caterpillars were amongst the blessed animals last Sunday, least of all the procesionaria (Thaumetopoeidae Pityocampa). I wonder what Sant Antoni would have made of this little creature in all its disguises as a moth, egg, cocoon or caterpillar.

We are told that this particular processionary caterpillar is a bit of a vermin, but I wonder. Surely there must be something good to be said about this little moth and its more visible transformation as a caterpillar. Shall we start by just admitting that we are looking at a rather clever little creature?

Pine processionary moths lay their eggs on the needles of pine trees in August. When the young larvae hatch, they first construct and later abandon a succession of small nests at different spots on their home pine tree. After two molts they build a large, permanent nest that is forbidding and impenetrable to intruders, thanks to toxic hairs strewn throughout, and that provides good shelter through the winter months. In Mallorca, the caterpillars leave their nest around this time of year (see photo) in search of a site where they can bury themselves underground, spin cocoons, and metamorphose. Beware, and don’t touch.

Adult moths then emerge in August.

The photo was chosen from my archive. It was taken in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. The date: February 3rd, 2007. The time was 14:08:36. My information is partly based on research by Terrence D. Fitzgerald, a distinguished professor of biology at the State University of New York at Cortland, as published in the Natural History Magazine. Thank you very much.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Recent Comments

January 2010


  • 1,605,550 visits


Copyright © November Press 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to November Press and Mallorca Daily Photo Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Copyleft ©© Klaus Fabricius 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

%d bloggers like this: