Home > Animals and wildlife > Heath fritillary caterpillar

Heath fritillary caterpillar

Caterpillar of the heath fritillary butterfly

I photographed this spiky caterpillar the other day without having any idea what species it was.

Today, after a long hunt on the internet, I finally identified it as the caterpillar of the heath fritillary butterfly.

They’re extremely rare in Britain and Germany, apparently, but not particularly rare over Europe as a whole.

They’re nicknamed the ‘woodman’s follower’ because they follow the cycle of cutting around a piece of coppiced woodland, benefitting from the increased warmth in the clearings. I wonder if the origin of this one is the coppice next door?

The caterpillars eat cow-wheat which doesn’t grow here, but also foxglove, plantain, speedwell and yarrow. This lucky caterpillar is spoilt for choice because it’s surrounded by all 4 of those plants!

In the photo it’s sitting on a stem of speedwell, witness the blurry blue flower.

Advertisements
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: