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Pale Tussock Moth Andy

Male and the larger Female

Pale Tussock Larvae

Pale Tussock Moth (Calliteara Pudibunda)

I rear Pale Tussock Moths occasionally only in low numbers releasing them back into the wild or keeping a fertile moth for only one night so I do not have too many eggs which are laid in batches around a twig. This is a lovely species and is collected because of the handsome larvae. The adult moths which do not feed can sometimes be found resting on tree trunks from May to June which is how I often find them. The attractive larvae feed on a verity of different trees like Oak, Birch, Elm, Hazel, Hops, which gave them the name “hop dogs” the larvae also feed on fruit trees. I feed mine on Acer trees which grow in my garden, starting the larvae in netted sleeves. The larvae when feeding or resting turn the leaf over with thin stripes of silk which gives them some protection and makes them difficult to find. When alarmed the brightly coloured yellow or green larvae role up showing black between each segment, making the larvae appear very striking. This would be a warning to birds that it is distasteful to eat. The long hairs also act as a warning as when I broke open the cocoons to photograph the pupae which are mixed with the caterpillar's hairs I found the cocoon quite irritating to handle even the pupae has hair along its back.

Pale Tussock Larvae

Wild female resting on a Pine tree

Pale Tussock Pupae