British moths, damage to Hazel leaves, Hazel, Hazel leaves, moth caterpillar, Operophtera brumata, Winter moth
While wandering through my favourite woodland earlier this week, I noticed small areas of damage on some Hazel leaves. It looked like a little critter had been munching on them and, checking further, I soon discovered a lot of leaves had suffered similar damage.
Closer inspection of one particular leaf soon revealed the culprit, a caterpillar, tucked away in a snug little tent it had created by binding two leaves together with silken thread. From there it could easily venture out to eat, yet retreat when threatened by predators or bad weather. Smart thinking!
I think the caterpillar may be the larva of a Winter moth (Operophtera brumata) but I haven’t yet been able to confirm my identification (Update 16/5: ID now confirmed as Winter moth). Once I was alert to their presence, I noticed more leaf damage and several more ‘tents’, as well as a smaller caterpillar feeding out in the open.
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