Puss Moth Caterpillar

Strange caterpillar found in Bristol, England
Can you please help me to identify a strange looking caterpillar found climbing on our outside wall. We don’t ever see caterpillars anymore,( not like when I was a child) especially not one this big! I would appreciate your help.
Thank you
Kelly Milsom

Hi Kelly,
Your the moth that metemorphoses from your caterpillar, Cerura vinula, goes by the inglorious common name Puss Moth. We have located a website that shows the complete metamorphosis. Further research on the name was found on the UK Moth Website and Puss refers not to the oozing fluid from a sore, but rather it is “Named after the cat-like appearance of the adult moth, this species is fairly common throughout most of Britain. The striking caterpillar feeds on aspen (Populus tremula) as well as poplar (Populus spp.) and willow (Salix spp.). When disturbed, it raises its head and waves the twin tails, which have pinkish extendable flagellae. The adult flies from May to July, and frequently comes to light.” The moth is in the family Notodontidae.

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