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moth Pale Tussock Moth

Latin name:  Dasychira pudibunda

Size:  Wingspan approx 60mmm

Distribution:  Found in England and Wales.

Months seen:  May and June.  The caterpillars are found between July and October

Food:  Adult moths do not feed, but the caterpillars eat oak, birch, lime and hop leaves.

Habitat:  Woods, parks and gardens

Special features:  The male moths have feathery antennae which can detect the scent of a female from several hundred metres away.

A dark coloured form of the moth is sometimes found around industrial areas.

The hairy green and yellow caterpillars have a black band around each body segment, and a tuft of red-brown hair at the tail end.  The brightly coloured hairs protect them from birds, and other predators.

The caterpillars were known as 'hop dogs' by hop pickers who frequently found them among the crops.  They're less likely to be found in hop fields these days due to the use of pesticides.

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