Thursday, 3 July 2014

Cunnery Wood caterpillar nests

Found these in Cunnery Wood on the willow trees. They are normally there this time of year, could anyone identify them for me? Thanks.


charlie streets said...

Hi Chris,

I'm just wondering if they are Willow Ermine (Yponomeuta rorrella).
It's quite a scarce moth and rarely seen as a larva - there are no larval records on the Yorkshire Moths database.

Could you either show me where they are or give me a grid ref. so perhaps I can rear some through, the adults should emerge this year.

Thanks for any help.

Chris said...

Hi Charlie

I can meet you there on Monday around 4pm if that is any use. Alternatively the grid reference is SE10580 25650. If you get to the top car park at Shibden Park, head across the road and start up the footpath to Beacon Hill, then after 20 yeards turn left through the green gate into Cunnery Wood. Head down the path and then take the path to the left of the small pile of aggregate. This zig-zags down the hill and they are near the bottom on some willow trees. Larva in there today when I passed.

charlie streets said...

Hi again,

Thanks for the directions Chris, much appreciated but I managed to find (the wood) and the nests first thing Saturday morning - they were hard to miss as there were quite a lot of them!

I feel confident they are Willow Ermines but just to be sure I took a small sample back with me to rear through. Apart from a few larvae the nest contained a hidden hub of pupal cocoons tightly stacked which numbered around 15. I expect they willl emerge within the next week or two.

Literature states that Willow Ermines are rarely found in the larval stage and I can find no Yorkshire records of larvae so it seems you have a significant colony on your reserve and efforts should be made to ensure their survival if possible.

Thanks for reporting them!

Chris said...

Thanks Charlie, If you can post on the blog when they emerge and you have confirmed ID it would be appreciated. I was planning to remove the willow but with this happening here they will stay and we will look at what we can do extra to benefit the moths.

charlie streets said...

Will do Chris, so far just two parasitic wasps have emerged - I hope the rest haven't been "stung".

AndyC said...

I remember you telling me about these in 2009.when I went all I could see were spiders.(didn't look that closely). I went for a look today and counted well over 300 webs, they go from about 2 foot above the ground to very high up in the trees a Willow warbler was having a close look at one .Can you remember when you first noticed them ..??

charlie streets said...

Good news, the first two moths emerged this morning but not appearing exactly as they should. I took a closer look at some of the leaves I had in the fridge (for feeding the larvae) and have come to the conclusion that the trees are in fact Bird Cherry. I therefore reached the rather obvious identification of the moth as Bird-cherry Ermine - it's size and colour supports this.

It's not a group of moths I've seen before so thanks again for bringing them to everyone's attention.