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Perhaps that should really be MUNCH of the caterpillars because these little creatures are really the ultimate food processors. They eat ravenously, they ingest determinedly, they process interminably, and, yes, they pooh prodigiously. What a life!

170620 Oak eggar larva (1)

They can be covered in bristles: watch these ones as people with sensitive skin often get a rash from touching them because they can contain chemicals to deter predators from eating them. They can be dull to blend in with the vegetation on their favourite food plant. They can be patterned in startling colours and patterns, again as a warning to predators – ‘Don’t eat me!’

These particular caterpillars are the larvae of two moths and one butterfly. The hairy ones are the moths, Oak eggar (Lasiocampa quercus) and Yellow-tail (Euproctis similis), and the spiky black one with white dots is the rather surprisingly coloured caterpillar of the Peacock butterfly (Aglais io).