Oak Processionary caterpillars

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Oak Processionary Moth caterpillars recorded on a tree trunk in Greater London by Emily Kirt.
Oak Processionary moth caterpillars in Greater London – photo Emily Kirt

Oak Processionary Moth caterpillars create amazing patterns when resting in large numbers on the trunks of oak trees. They’re also fascinating to watch when on the move, walking head to tail in a long processional line, hence their name.

However, these caterpillers have a darker side. They are a growing threat to oak trees as well as a potential health risk in parts of south east of England.

These were sighted on a tree trunk by Emily Kirt while taking a walk in Kingston upon Thames, Greater London.

The origins of Processionary moths in London are thought to be from eggs imported on timber from the continent where they are a common pest. Small numbers of moths also arrive annually along the south coast as migrants from other European countries such as The Netherlands and France.

As with other invasive pest species from abroad such as The Gypsy Moth and Box Moth caterpillar they seem to be on the increase and spreading in parts of southern England.

Other caterpillars can be seen in the Moth caterpillar galleries and Butterfly caterpillar galleries . Other hairy caterpillars can be seen in the Hairy caterpillar gallery