Fox on the run

 Flanders Moss NNR

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If you are having a wander around the boardwalk it is worth looking out for the big hairy fox moth caterpillars. They are obvious even on dull wet days as they often perch at the end of heather and cotton grass stems and wait, moribund, until the sun comes out. At this time of year they are feeding (on heather  mostly) as much as possible when it is warm as, soon, they will burrow down into the leaf litter in heather and sphagnum hummocks to spend the winter in hibernation. Come spring they are back to the sunbathing and feeding (tough life for a caterpillar) before going into a cocoon for a month and they hatching out as an adult in May and June. Some,  however, won’t make it out of hibernation as while they have been lying around a parasitic wasp will have laid an egg on them which hatches out and eats the caterpillar! Nice!
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A fox moth caterpiller – they like warming themselves up on the boardwalk.

 

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1 Response to Fox on the run

  1. peigimccann says:

    Wonderful, finally have a name for this one. I’ll be sending you two more!

    Like

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