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24 Aug 2017

Goat moth caterpillars

Goat moth caterpillar

This month there have been lots of reports of goat moth caterpillar sightings around the reserve.  Goat moths are a scarce species in the UK and have been in decline since at least the 1960’s. Habitat loss and the use of insecticides have had a dramatic effect on this moth species.

Did you know that goat moths have the longest larval stage of any British moth getting to the ripe age of four or five years old before they turn into the adult moth?

Their name comes from the smell of the caterpillar , which resembles the scent of a male goat.  But if you can get past the smell, or don’t get too close, they are actually a really impressive insect. The caterpillars you might come across on the reserve are either looking for a new willow tree to start feeding on or some loose ground to bury into, ready to pupate.