To the arachnophobes out there, I just want to reassure you that not all webs are made by spiders. Some are home to really cute caterpillars like these that I was lucky enough to spot on a recent walk.
Native to central Europe and southern Britain, these are Lackey moth (Malacosoma neustria) caterpillars, pretty little blue-and-orange-and-white-striped crawlies that live happily together in a silken web they’ve spun for themselves amongst the blackthorn, hawthorn and other trees and shrubs that are their food plants. They began life as eggs that were laid towards the end of last summer but didn’t hatch until this spring, meaning these little creatures will have spent around half their lives as eggs. In a few weeks, when they’re munched their way through plenty of leaves and moulted a few times, these caterpillars will drop to the ground and pupate. Once the summer comes, they’ll hatch and the adult moths will be seen flying in and around these hedgerows during July and August – something to look forward to, though the moth is a little drab in comparison to its offspring.
p.s. I cannot take the credit for today’s catchy title. I pinched it from my friend Mark, who used it to comment on another friend’s Lackey web find on Facebook.