Location: Marburg, Germany
October 16, 2016 1:24 am
Hi! I am living in central Europe (Germany), at the edge of a mixed forest. I have built up a container garden last year which attracts many different insects. In September this year I found many eggs fixed to a leaf of gladiola Acidanthera bicolor. Some time later very small caterpillars hatched which started to rope down on very thin threads. I could not find out what that is and wanted to ask for your help. Thank you very much.
We suspect that these are Tiger Moth Eggs from the subfamily Arctiinae. We are reluctant to provide an actually species identification. Many Tiger Moths are generalist feeders with caterpillars that eat plants often classified as weeds. Tiger Moths also lay eggs on surfaces where there is no food, like the outdoor wall of a home near a light. When the Caterpillars hatch, they begin feeding on the egg shell and then they disperse to hunt for edible plants. Tiger Moth Caterpillars are often called Woolly Bears.