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Chinese silkmoth caterpillar

Chinese silkmoth caterpillar

C014/8075

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Credit

DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

A larva (caterpillar) of the Saturnid moth, Samia cynthia, feeding on Privet, Ligustrum vulgare. S. cynthia is native to Eastern China, where its cocoons are one source of wild silk. It has been introduced into both Europe and the USA. In natural habitats the larvae feed on Tree of Heaven ( Ailanthus altissima ), but have been found on a variety of other tree species, including Magnolia, Laburnum, Privet and Sweet Bay. The female moth lays batches of up to 400 eggs, and the early instar larvae are gregarious. The picture shows a 4th instar larva growing on Privet. Visible are its thoracic legs, that will be retained in the adult moth, and its serrated jaws for cutting leaves, which will be absent in the adult.The larva is 4 weeks old, and approximately 2cm long.

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