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Lobster Moth Andy

Lobster Larvae mimicking a red ant.

Lobster Moth caterpillar, full grown.

Open view of cocoon showing pupae and shed skin.

Lobster Moth caterpillar

Lobster Moth Larvae (Stauropus Fagi)

The lobster moth is known from its curious larvae than the moth which is a member of the prominent family.
It is known when the lobster moth larvae hatch the caterpillars mimic red ants. The baby caterpillars looked like ants and could run fast like a red ant and look nothing like a moth caterpillar. So for my photography I tried an experiment with some hatched larvae and some aggressive red ants. The larvae were waving its front legs around which touched the antennae of the red ant both the same hight. It was just like two ant communicating with each other after the encounter the ants lost interest and turned the other way. I tried the same experiment with a few larvae and different ants set up at home and not in the wild or near a ants nest.  It cannot be coincident that it looks and runs like an ant. I tried to annoy the Lobster moth larvae with a small brush and the larvae wriggled about violently just as an injured ant would which I thought was very clever. From the time they hatch the larvae are strange as the as the eat there eggshell which they will even guard against other hatchlings and then do not eat again until they have shed their first skin. At all stages the caterpillar looks like a crustacean / arthropod type creature with its very long legs and swollen last segment. And it puts up a startling threat display with its legs outstretched looking like claws and its head bent backwards over the body. When fully grown the caterpillar which is quite large up to 70mm in length spins a strong cocoon between dead leaves and hatches into a moth from May until July. This very interesting species' is hard to find in the wild especially the caterpillars even with there odd appearance are very well camouflaged on branches. I have only ever found male moths in my moth trap, probably traveling further looking for females and these are always tatty specimens. Fortunately, the Lobster moth can often be brought from entomological suppliers and butterfly farms in the UK.


The Lobster adult moth does not get mentioned much and even I only have one picture and loads of caterpillar pictures, so next time I am going to try and film the unassuming moth.

Lobster moth Larvae & Tree Cricket.