Please do send us pictures of the flora and fauna you come across in the park, particularly if you don’t know what it is. We are happy to help with identification. To encourage you, here is our Messenger conversation with Julie about the caterpillars she found and photographed.
Julie: Ermine moth caterpillars?
Southwick Country Park: Hi Julie, I am not sure that these are ermine moths, they look like small eggar moths, which are quite rare and a new species for our lists. Where did you see them?
Julie: OK – they are near the strange seat. If you are looking at the seat on the way up they are on the left hand side of the hedge – will try and do a map.
Julie: Hope that makes sense. If not I can take better location photos tomorrow. Here’s another picture from a week or so ago.
Southwick Country Park: I know exactly where you mean. I’ll take my camera out there tomorrow.
Julie: The web has been there a few weeks undisturbed so hopefully it will last till they are ready to leave.
Southwick Country Park: Small eggars would be very exciting; they are Nationally Scarce. I have sent the pictures to Ian, our invertebrates man; he will know for sure what they are. Can I use the pictures on the website please?
Julie: Lovely. Yes, you can use them on the site
Julie: More caterpillars out of the web this morning. Also sent a location shot to help you find them.
Southwick Country Park: Thanks for the pictures. I am more and more sure that they are small eggars but we will wait for the experts to speak.
Julie: That would be fantastic if there were another species to add to the list. And to think I nearly didn’t send the pictures in to you.
Southwick Country Park: ALWAYS send the pictures Julie! Almost anything that catches your eye will be of interest. So many people just wander through the park without really looking at anything. By the way, if it is a new species for the list, your name will go next to it.
- Email from Ian Bushell Sun 24/05/2020 11:41: It’s definitely a Small Eggar (Eriogaster lanestris) nest of caterpillars. Glad we know where it was found. Will let Wiltshire and Swindon Biological Record Centre know as it would appear to be a first in the park.
Southwick Country Park: Confirmed as small eggars. Ian has added them to the list but under his own name (!) – I am protesting on your behalf.
Julie: That’s brilliant! I’m glad there’s another species for the park and glad a rare species has had so many babies. It would be nice to have my name officially on the list as I doubt I will have another opportunity, but I also understand Ian did the identification so its OK.
Southwick Country Park: No, no, I am on your side. You found them. Leave it with me.
Julie: It was a group effort, you noticed it might be small eggars from the first photos.
Southwick Country Park: Ian has put you on the list and he has registered you as the finder at the Wiltshire and Swindon Biological Record Centre. You’ll find it on our menu bar under biodiversity then full species list then click on invertebrates at the bottom of the page. They are under Lepidoptera
Julie: That’s great! My claim to fame lol. Enjoy the rest of this glorious day, and I will keep my eyes open for new things in the park.
All images by Julie Newblé except image of adult moths which is by Didier Descouens (CC BY-SA 4.0) from flickr.com