The colours of this caterpillar scream it loud and clear – Don’t touch me!
It is a general assumption on my part that those insects with are coloured most brightly and garishly are sending a warning to us and to other creatures that it would be unwise to meddle with them. Of course, it may also be simply an evolutionary ruse to make us and others keep our distance but, whichever it is, it gives us a very interesting and attractive creature.
This one was walking across the tarmacadam this afternoon as I was blowing the leaves and, with those colours, I could hardly have missed seeing it which was just as well as it probably saved it from being blown away with the other debris. It also gave me the opportunity to look more closely at it and to photograph it. I noticed that when it was disturbed it assumed a posture of putting its head in the sand, so to speak, and stayed in that position for some time before resuming its perambulations.
A little Googling has told me that the hairs of the caterpillar may cause a skin reaction and that contact is best avoided, which fortunately I did. I also noticed that the adult moth is not at all as strikingly coloured and it quite dull in contrast.
It is always a great thrill to come across something so beautiful in the garden.