The Vapourer from the UK: Caterpillar and Female laying Eggs

This Caterpillar turned moth

Vapourer Caterpillar

This Caterpillar turned moth
Location:  Heanor, Derbyshire, UK
August 21, 2010 7:39 am
Hi there I found this caterpillar on some plants outside my front door on the 23rd of July. A few days later it had turned into a chrysalis on the door to the to the bin store, which is above the plants. Then on the 20th of August I had noticed it had hatched and started to lay eggs, it is still laying eggs as I type this, but hasn’t seemed to grown wings, I’ve looked around for images of the caterpillar and moth but can’t seem to find a match, so I’ve given up and decided to ask the profesionals, also should I move the nesting site to somewhere there is vegetation for them?
Thank you for your time.
Mr Darryll Elston

Vapourer Moth laying Eggs

Dear Mr Elston,
Your caterpillar looks very much like a North American species called the White Marked Tussock Moth which BugGuide classifies in the subfamily Lymantriinae, the Tussock Moths.  Armed with that information, we headed for the UK Moths website and scanned the thumbnails for that group.  The UK Moths website considers Lymantriidae to be a distinct family unlike the subfamily status on BugGuide.  Scanning the thumbnails in the UK Moth family Lymantriidae quickly revealed the Vapourer.  The UK Moths page for the Vapourer,
Orgyia antiqua, provides this information:  “An unusual species in many ways, the males fly during the day (although the example depicted was attracted to light at night).  The females are virtually wingless, an attribute normally associated with winter-emerging species, but the adults are out from July to September, sometimes October in the south.  The female lays her eggs on what remains of the pupal cocoon, which then overwinter. When hatched, the very hairy caterpillars feed on a range of deciduous trees and shrubs.  The species is fairly common, especially in suburban habitats, over much of Britain, but more so in the south.”  That information is well documented in your photographs.  Thanks for contributing this new species to our website.

Vapourer Moth laying Eggs

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