Today, I was out with a Year 6 group today, we were searching the grassland and woods for different interesting items that younger children might be able to search for on a natural treasure hunt. Whilst in the grass, one child came across a rather spectacular Drinker Moth caterpillar! Fully grown caterpillars are up to 7cm in length. They are dark grey with golden speckling and have brown hair tufts along the body. A line of white hair tufts is present on either side of the body. The caterpillars hibernate when part grown and continue feeding in the spring, becoming fully grown by June. They eat various coarse grasses, including Cock’s-foot, Reed Canary-grass and Common Reed.
I was not sure what kind of caterpillar this was, but one of the pupils told me it was a Drinker Moth! She had found one with her dad just the week before and they had looked it up! Fantastic! When we got back to school, we went on the Internet to see what the adult moth would look like. We were expecting something rather spectacular with a caterpillar like this……
(Images from ukmoths.org.uk)
It is a rather interesting looking moth, so called because apparently it likes to drink the dew! Fantastic to find this caterpillar and to be able to see what it will eventually turn into!