Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Pale Tussock Caterpillar helps prove the Abbey House Gardens Environmentally Aware Credentials

Often at the Abbey House Gardens we come across a new animal or insect that we find difficult to identify straightaway. Yesterday Carl, one of the gardening team, came across a very curious looking caterpillar near one of the rose beds in the herb garden.

(Carl with the Pale Tussock Moth)

One of the joys of such a find is the research required to correctly identify our new furry caterpillar friend. After much searching of our books and surfing the internet we can name our new friend the 'Pale Tussock.' Its an amazing looking creature, with a pink like tale and yellow and stripped head proudly showing off three mohican like tufts on his head. The strange 'mohican' tufts that cover his head have evolved as a method of dissuading bird predators from attack. - very distinctive as you can see below!

(close up)

It loves shrubs and trees as a natural habitat which explains why Carl found him in the herb garden area. The Pale Tussock also prospers in areas not covered in horrible pesticides and insecticides... so he has found a good spot at the Abbey House Gardens!

We think he was drawn to a spot near to the roses as that area is particularly nutritious ... all the roses adjacent to our stew pond are hand fed by the bucket load with the recycled water from the fish (such as the Coi Carp) as part of the filtration process. Its packed with good stuff like nitrogen that help to keep the roses so strong and colourful.

Nature at its best, with one species helping to support the growth of another.

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