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Saturday, 10 August 2013


Any ideas on this quite distinctive caterpillar please? Seen on raspberry leaf near Salem earlier?

It was about 2cm long from memory and I can't see anything like it in the couple of books I have, though I haven't got a dedicated book - can anyone recommend one?


  1. Jim Porter's Colour Identification Guide to Caterpillars of the British IsleISBN 978 87 88757 95 8 is excellent with photos of all caterpillars plus descriptions - around £50 - but fairly quick romp through has not revealed you specimen I'm afraid!

  2. Ditto....I`ve just had a `romp` (to use Sally`s phrase) through the same recommended book, again with no luck.
    There`s always the problem of (eg) sawfly caterpillars too - there is a difference, which I can`t remember at present.

  3. That's definitely a Lep caterpillar.

    Sally & Ian's experience is, unfortunately, typical of mine with 'Porter'. I find a really distinctive-looking caterpillar, flick through the plates and find the only thing it seems to match is some ludicrous rarity from NE Scotland! I suspect this is partly because caterpillars look different at different instar stages. There's no alternative book, and 'Porter' looks excellent and has great text: it's just that caterpillars are really difficult!

  4. I find the UKleps website more useful than any books, partly because the images are larger but also because earlier instars are often featured too.


    The only problem is you can't search through an image bank of all species, so you have to check each individually, which isn't very helpful if you've no idea what something is.

    I wondered if yours might be an early instar Scalloped Hook-tip? (Could it have been blown off an overhanging tree?)


  5. Thanks for all your responses - I have used Porter's book in the past and found, as seems to be common, that no matter how distinctive it was I could rarely find it.
    Thanks for that link George - I'll try using that website for now I think (though I do like having a book to scan through). It does look similar to the scalloped hook-tip and there are nearby mature trees; though not birch from memory. It still doesn't seem quite right - that early instar is small compared to the caterpillar I saw I think.