I had spotted some ragwort and cinnabar caterpillars over the weekend, so nipped out this afternoon to take a few pictures. The caterpillars are brightly striped orangey/yellow and black, warning potential predators that they are inedible. The ragwort is rich in alkaloid poisons. These poisons are stored in the caterpillars’ bodies in a form that does not kill them but provides a chemical defence against birds, in particular. The poisons are then passed on from the caterpillar to the moth, making it one of the most poisonous moths in the UK. The moth’s bright red and black coloration, once again, serves as a warning to predators.
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