What’s this caterpillar on the South West Coast Path?

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Oak Eggar (Lasiocampa quercus)
Fox Moth (Macrothylacia rubi)

This is a question holidaymakers in Cornwall often stop and ask us when we’re out photographing wildlife. So to help identification here are four of the most likely caterpillars to be seen in the spring and all happen to be common moths not just in Cornwall but in most of the UK.

Full information pages for the Oak Eggar, The Fox Moth, The Drinker, The Garden Tiger, The Ruby Tiger and other Hairy caterpillars

Other Moth caterpillars

Butterfly caterpillar gallery

Best dolphin and seabird watching places in Cornwall

The Drinker (Euthrix potatoria)
Garden Tiger (Arctia caja)

There may be caterpillars which are more numerous but the ones shown all have the habit of basking in the sunshine and wandering around during the day prior to pupation.

There are in excess of 2,500 moth caterpillars and over 55 butterfly caterpillars but most require a good deal of searching for. These four caterpillars are often seen sitting on top of vegetation, beside or even on paths in suitable habitat.

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