Monday, 24 June 2013

A Visitor in the Garden

Mullein Moth caterpillar

I am always happy to discover a new visitor in the garden and there he was all on his own. I had never seen a caterpillar like this. He was sitting on a leaf on my buddleia, so I took the opportunity to take his photo with a super closeup. I was sure I had discovered a rare species.

Afterwards I decided to see what his name was. It seems it is a Mullein Moth caterpillar. According to the pictures, the moth is a boring thing, all brown and nothing special.

And now the shock: Wikipedia tell me that this caterpillar has an unsatiable appetite and completely strips leaves of host plants, particularly the buddleia.  I decided his minutes on my bush were coming to an abrupt end and decided to end his eating marathon. My buddleia was freshly planted this year as they attract such wonderful butterflies. This scrounger was not even a butterfly baby but just a common moth. Unfortunately I did not find him, I think and hope he decided to go while the going was good. However, I did find a few leaves with munching traces on them.


  1. Great shot, Pat!! He's a colourful chappie, even if he is a pest!! You'll have to keep an eye out for reappearances.

  2. A very nice one... All caterpillars eat leaves... if you don't have 50 on the same plant, there's no problem... :)

    1. Caterpillars eat leaves, but not all leaves. It depends on what sort of caterpillar you are. This one only feeds on certain plants the Mullein Moth caterpillar, one of them being buddleia. According to what I read, it is capable of stripping the plant. I picked another one off the plant today. It was almost a fight as he held on to the bitter end, but I won, I don't mind the normal green caterpillar, and we even get the swallowtail caterpillars (very pretty and not so harmfull), but this one seems to make its life's quest in finishing the plant off.