Prepupal Puss Moth Caterpillar from Spain

Subject: Caterpillar ID
Location: S Andalucia
June 5, 2017 10:08 am
I took these photos this morning in Southern Spain. The Caterpillar is about 5 Cms long and what I assume to be the rear end has a flat circular area with a whitish ring and a reddish centre.
Signature: Garth Nicholson

Puss Moth Caterpillar

Dear Garth,
This is either a Puss Moth Caterpillar,
Cerura vinula, or a closely related species.  We found images on the British site Wildlife Insight of Puss Moth Caterpillars and the site provides this information:  “At this stage the Puss Moth prepupating caterpillar turns from green to a dark purplish colour.  Having stopped feeding it will often leave the food plant to search for a suitable place to pupate.  It is at this stage, when wandering over the ground, that it is frequently come across – resulting in many caterpillar identification requests.  Using its strong jaws the Puss Moth caterpillar forms a very hard cocoon by chewing up bark and cementing it with silk into crevices in tree trunks and woody/plant litter.”  According to Insecta Pro, the species is found in Spain as well as much of Europe. 

Thank you Daniel, checking the links you sent I think you have made a good ID. I realise what I thought was the rear end is in fact the front end.
Many thanks,
Garth Nicholson

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