Strange Caterpillars


Yponomenta gigas caterpillars and web.

I’d never heard of caterpillars that make cobwebs before, but these do. Like many others caterpilars in the family of ermine moths, they form communal webs. I suppose it discourages birds from sticking their beaks in.

My book on Canarian insects doesn’t mention them at all, but then they aren’t easy to find unless you know where to look. They live on the Canarian Willow, Salix canariensis which only grows in the Canary Islands and Madeira in places with plenty of water. But there are lots of them in the Caldera de Taburiente, near the campsite at the Playa de Taburiente.

Posted by sheila

Sheila came to La Palma with a six month contract and has stayed 24 years so far. She used to work as a software engineer at the observatory, but now she's a writer and Starlight guide.

This article has 1 Comment

  1. Hi,
    I have been studying aspects of the european ermine moth pheromones but missed a chance to screen the canary island species. Happily you leave there! Please contact me if there is any chance you would be interested in collecting a few late stage larvae/pupae…late spring is just the right season. Thanks! An insect ecologist :)

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