A Unique Procession

Resident Lynn Dury and a few of her neighbours were treated to an unusual sight, recently.

The phenomenon is known as ‘processionary caterpillars’, and is the larval stage of the reticulate bagnest moth (Anaphe reticulata).

After hatching from the eggs, the caterpillars begin to feed on the leaves of their host plant. They then head off to find another food course in a ‘procession’: nose-to-tail, connected by a silk trail started by the leader.

The long lines of caterpillars are often seen when the weather turns cold. Should the line be disrupted for any reason, the caterpillars become confused and disoriented. The line will then halt completely until a new leader takes control.

If you see this happening in your area, please leave the caterpillars be.