10 February 2015

Cinnabar moth caterpillar

Years ago I used to work on various aspects of biological control of weeds in New Zealand. One of the the target weeds was ragwort, and although the programme has had reasonable success in some areas, mostly because of the introduction of the ragwort flea beetle, ragwort is still common (too common) in some parts of New Zealand. This caterpillar, the larva of the cinnabar moth, was introduced into New Zealand in the early 20th century but had little effect on the ragwort problem. After redistribution efforts in the 1980s, it's now much more widespread and probably contributes to ragwort control in some areas.

This, however, was the only caterpillar I saw near the top of the No. 1 Line road a few days ago, so the flourishing ragwort population will no doubt remain untroubled by cinnabar moth depradation, at least for this season.

All content © 2014 Pete McGregor


Barbara Butler McCoy said...

Lovely composition. I've a fondness for yellow and caterpillars make me laugh - so 'Alice in Wonderland' they are.

Relatively Retiring said...

Wonderful cheering colours on a damp grey day in England. Many thanks!

pohanginapete said...

Barbara, I didn't notice a hookah, but maybe I didn't look hard enough ;-)

RR, although ragwort's a bad weed here, I have to admit it adds some spectacular colour. These caterpillars are about as bright as they come around here too. Positively garish.