British caterpillars – The Cinnabar

with 5 Comments
Orange and black striped caterpillars of The Cinnabar moth are common at Penhale Dunes on the north Cornwall coast at the moment. Some Common Ragwort plants held over fifty of these boldly coloured larvae and many plants had already been reduced to bare stalks.
See updated information on the Cinnabar Moth and caterpillar. The bright colours of both The Cinnabar caterpillar and the red and black adult moth are thought to be a warning to predators that they are distasteful. The caterpillars are most often found on Common Ragwort (Senecio jacobaea) which is poisonous to some animals such as horses and in some countries the caterpillars have been introduced to control the plant. The caterpillars obtain a bitter alkaloid taste from their food plant making them too distasteful for predators such as birds to eat.

For other caterpillars see British moth caterpillars gallery

5 Responses

  1. mick

    Loads of these in my garden in pudsey, w yorks. Worryingly, found a couple in the house too. The cats must have brought them in

  2. jade

    my nice has got lots in her garden in rotherham

  3. Taran

    Found several plants overrun and nearly stripped bare at Nea Meadows, Highcliffe, Dorset. Now I know what they are, although have never spotted the adult moth yet!

  4. Lisa O'Neill

    *had…typo combined with predictive text.

  5. Lisa O'Neill

    Our neighbour’s garden has loads of these caterpillars (Stockport, Cheshire) and I recognise the adult moth as we’ve gadgets them in our garden a couple of years ago.

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