Mimic

Spotted in my garden last weekend:

Mimic
Is it a twig, or is it a caterpillar?

Isn't Natural Selection utterly amazing? I would never have spotted this creature had it not, rather stupidly, taken up residence on a fence, rather than the branch of a tree. As a rule, fences tend not to have twigs.

The delay in posting this photo was due to my unsuccessful attempts to identify the species in question. My best guess at the moment is that it is the caterpillar of the world-famous peppered moth—which would be rather cool. Apparently, it isn't just adult peppered moths that come in a variety of camouflaged colours, hence my uncertainty.

I will get to the bottom of this one.

See also: Books: Of Moths & Men

Postscript (21-Oct-2007): I eventually managed to find the excellent UK website Eggs, Larvae and Pupae of Butterflies and Moths, which confirmed that my find was indeed the caterpillar of a peppered moth. The website took me so long to find because I had been searching for 'UK caterpillars', but the experts tend to refer to them as pupae!

Writer and photographer Richard Carter, FCD is the founder of the Friends of Charles Darwin. He lives in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire.WebsiteFacebookTwitterNewsletterBooks
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