Lesser Yellow Underwing caterpillar, 01 Apr 2012

LESser YELlow Underwing... Lesley!

My latest caterpillar rearing project is a caterpillar I found in my back yard last Wednesday — a Lesser Yellow Underwing. It’s a moth I’ve never seen before so I’ll be taking very good care of it to make sure it reaches adulthood this summer.

Lesley, as I’ve called it, is a bit like a Weeping Angel (out of Doctor Who). It does move around and eat quite a bit, but every time I go to look at it it’s stock still. This is probably its response to light and/or movement (it’s a nocturnal caterpillar so every time I turn off the light to look at it it stops  what it’s doing).

It moulted a few days after I collected it – the photo above is post-moult. I’m not sure what instar it’s at — probably last or penultimate as these caterpillars  reach around 40mm and it’s currently 32mm. It’s very fond of elder leaves.

I’m keeping it indoors in an ASDA lemon yoghurt tub with airholes, 1.5cm of compost in the bottom, a pine twig to climb on, and the all-important vegetable matter.

And that’s project 21A in a nutshell.

Species study 21, project A: Lesser Yellow Underwing (Noctua comes)