Submitted by AJ Cann on Thu, 28/12/2017 - 05:35

Caterpillar

While browsing for springtails on the lawn I found lots of caterpillars, from two or three different species. 
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I've tried to identify them but failed, beyond that fact that they are Noctuid moth larvae (and this one is a Square-spot Rustic, Xestia xanthographa, with a characteristic white dorsal line). Getting the others to species level would require rearing them. There are more mysteries around these too. They've just spent a couple of weeks covered in ice and snow, yet they seem perfectly happy. And given that our lawn is studded with Blackbirds every few feet, how do they avoid being eaten (apart from the fact that this year's Scandinavian winter residents are particularly dim and can't even work out how to use the bird feeders)? They're supposed to be nocturnal to avoid avian predation, although it looks like they didn't read that email, but that doesn't help them with ground beetles. And when they finally emerge, they become bat food. It's a hard life being a moth. But any frustration at the lack of I.D.s is outweighed by the fact that I can sit by the fire, comfortable in the knowledge that the class of 2018 is out there under the snow, waiting until the time is right to fill up the moth trap next summer.