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It's Getting a Bit Crowded Here

It's Getting a Bit Crowded Here
Photo Information
Copyright: Robert Brown (Robbrown) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1184 W: 88 N: 2160] (6106)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2006-08-12
Categories: Insects
Camera: Nikon D200, Sigma 105mm F2.8 DG macro (SOLD), Digital ISO 400
Exposure: f/14.0, 1/80 seconds
Details: (Fill) Flash: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Attractive Moths - Notodontidae [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2006-08-13 18:28
Viewed: 4699
Points: 18
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
This Little Crowd of baby Buff tip moth Catterpillars are on the remains of a leaf of their favourite food Grey Willow (Salix cinerea)
These caterpillars are Bufftip Moth (Phalera bucephala) for a view of the adult posted by Merlin click here it shows clearly how it can pretend to be a broken tree branch/twig.
They are a one generation a year moth on the wing during May and June during which time large groups of eggs are layed on the underside of one of the many food plant leaves.
When these hatch they feed in groups when small often in rows eating only the soft underside of the leaves while small. As they grow they split into smaller groups eating till whole branches are stripped of leaves, when they move off to the next one. As they get bigger they become more solitary this one is about full grown at over 75mm long click here to veiw a larger one I posted earlier to TN, which will no doubt be soon be dropping to the ground to wander around till it finds some where snug to burrow underground in the loose leaf litter to pupatae over winter. food plants for the caterpillar is varried but Willows are the favourite but , Alders, Oak, Hazel, Sycamore, Hornbeam and Birch are also common food plants.
What you see here is only a small part of the group, originally when I 1st found them they all fitted onto 1 leaf 2inches / 50mm long, but like Toppsy they Grew and then grew some more till now they are in 3 groups, the one you see here on the front of the leaf another on the back of it and the rest on the next leaf up out of shot.
If you look carefully at the group you will see that some have smaller black coloured head others have yellow and a few have large black shinny heads, this is because for them was a day off eating and on in which to get bigger. while the soft parts of the body can expand the head with the ridged areas over the eyes can not, so this has to be shed to allow growth. So what you see is the ones with smaller black heads are prior to shedding , the yellow ones is where they have just shed the covering and have expanded the eye area and the few larger shinney black ones is where the new outer surface has dried and hardened.
Taken with the Nikon D200 with the Sigma 105Macro plus a new aquisition from a car boot sale for the vast expence of £3-00 a Jessop 270TBZ Zoom flash, with it I used a large white plastic plant lable to bounce the light onto the subject instead of blasting them directly with the flash giving a softer feel to the image.
Hope you like them and expect to see them again later as they grow.
Ps today I noticed they have now moved into 3 totally seperate groups on the plant so the family is going to the next stage of smaller groups.

scottevers7, Janice, batu, RAP has marked this note useful
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To batu: Thanks PeterRobbrown 1 08-14 05:21
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi Robert,
Excellent colors and detail in this shot. They remind me of out tent caterpillars and fall web worms. They will strip a tree of its leaves, but not kill it. I really like this cluster of them together. Well done!

  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2006-08-13 22:32]

Oh wow, Robert... What an amazing capture. : )
So many colorful wrigglers wriggling every which way.
Do they know enough not to eat the stem, lest they fall?
Great POV and very interesting moment.
TFs. : )

  • Great 
  • biero Silver Star Critiquer [C: 19 W: 0 N: 2] (12)
  • [2006-08-14 0:54]

Very good shot.
Poor leaf!
Bravo Robert.

Quite nice family picture ;-)
Yesterday I've fouund full size caterpilar of this species just near my home.


  • Great 
  • batu Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1079 W: 293 N: 4497] (16383)
  • [2006-08-14 2:24]
  • [+]

Hallo Robert,
you show a nice aggregation of caterpillars which is usual for this moth species:
-- Phalera bucephala
-- family Notodontidae.
One can see different developmental stages recognized by the yello-brown or black colour of the head capsule. Beautiful picture.

Pas très appétissant ce tas de chenilles poilues!Belle image avec de très jolies couleurs.

Hello Robert,

A nice picture! I always find just single caterpillars of this species in our area, on birch, poplar, or, just a couple of days ago, lime.

Best regards,

  • Great 
  • Janice Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3277 W: 148 N: 6163] (18832)
  • [2006-08-14 6:21]

Nice one Robert. They have certainly taken over that leaf. And what interesting notes too about their growth habits. Isn't nature amazing?
You show them off real well, good composition. Colours and details are all good, tfs...

  • Great 
  • RAP Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2524 W: 345 N: 2373] (7405)
  • [2006-08-14 8:29]

Excelente imagen Rob con bellos tonos, excelente DOF que permite el contraste de las orugas sobre el fondo difuso y un adecuado recorte y encuadre de la imagen.
Los detalles de los pelos de los insectos son realmente muy llamativos.
Saludos... Ricardo

Excellent image Rob with beautiful tones, excellent DOF that it allows the contrast of the caterpillars on the diffuse bottom and a appropriate cutting and framing of the image.
The details of the hair of the insects are really very attractive.
Greetings... Ricardo

  • Great 
  • wuta Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 855 W: 2 N: 617] (2142)
  • [2006-08-15 14:32]

Hello Robert , Well taken shot , good details pov colours very apart , thanks , Greetings Teunie .

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