Tyria jacobaeae - caterpillar

Posted by Johan Dierckx (Wijnegem, Belgium) on 29 June 2010 in Animal & Insect and Portfolio.

Tyria jacobaeae (Cinnabar moth / Sint-jacobsvlinder) is a brightly coloured moth belonging to the family Arctiidae. The larvae use members of the genus Senecio as foodplants. Many members of the genus have been recorded as foodplants but for long term population success the presence of the larger species such as ragwort is needed. Initially the larvae are pale yellow but later larval stages develop the jet black and orange/yellow striped colouring . They feed ravenously and can grow up to 30mm. Cinnabar caterpillars are voracious eaters and large populations can strip entire patches of ragwort clean, a result of their low predation. That is why sometimes these caterpillars are used to control populations of the poisonous ragworth.
In this image I find the balance of the two caterpillars on a tiny grass plant... one going up, the other going down... extroardinary.

Image: Broechem (BE) - 28/06/2010

NOTE: I have a few very busy days comming up - i'll try to cath up responding and commenting as soon as possible. Thx for understanding.

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All species are photographed in their natural habitat, without cutting or capturing them, and with maximal respect and the least possible disturbance to the environment.

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Florence from Paris, France

Just a little effort to meet up there. Nice yellow pyjamas ! :-)))

29 Jun 2010 10:49am

@Florence: Thanks, Florence.

Sarito from Basingstoke, United Kingdom

wow.. this is amazing. superb shot.. very clear.

29 Jun 2010 10:55am

@Sarito: Thank you very much again for your visit and comment, Sarito.

Dimitrios, think positive. from ATHENS, Greece

a 5 star macro, bravo!!!!!

29 Jun 2010 12:34pm

@Dimitrios, think positive.: Thank you very much, Dimitros. Glad you like it this much.

daniela scharnowski from Berlin, Germany

Hey they really pop out! Brilliant shot Johan!

29 Jun 2010 7:26pm

@daniela scharnowski: They will "pop out" in a few days and become a butterfly ... :-)))) Thx Daniela.

chen del mundo from manila, Philippines

great colors and compo, = )

30 Jun 2010 1:39am

@chen del mundo: Thank you very much !

♏arleen from Doesburg, Netherlands

Wat mooi scherp ook de frivole haartjes:-))))

30 Jun 2010 10:03am

@♏arleen: Ik wist wel dat deze rupsen behaard waren, maar dat die haren zo lang zijn, was me tot hiertoe nog nooit opgevallen.

Becky from los angeles, United States

this is brilliant! Love love love this.

1 Jul 2010 5:14pm

@Becky: Thanks again for your comment, Becky.

Dutçh from Chicagoland, United States

I love the coloration! Superb capture.. I would think their 'camo' isn't too camouflaged though.

4 Jul 2010 9:19pm

@Dutçh: The 'camo' is not very effective indeed ... but the coloring says ... "I'm harmfull and not tasty at all" (pattern and coloring looks a bit like huge wasps ... It's just a different way of using colors :-) Maybe we should pay some more attention on these effects in our own dressing code ;-))

Julie Brown from Indianapolis, United States

I love the patterns in this one. I can't believe I have missed so many of your images in the last couple of weeks!

28 Jul 2010 2:52am

@Julie Brown: Guess you've been very busy :-)))

Canon EOS 400D
1/125 second
ISO 200
210 mm