Yesterday, when I was checking out some local Oak trees for leaf mines, I came across this vibrant character. It turns out this is the larva of the Grey dagger moth (Acronicta psi), a very colourful creature when compared with its parent (you can see images on the UK Moths website here).
The larvae are about from July through to November and can be found on a wide variety of food plants. They are much easier to identify than their parents: the Grey dagger is almost identical to the Dark dagger moth and an examination of their genitals is required to tell them apart. I’m so glad I found the caterpillar not the moth – and I don’t really think it was looking daggers at me!