Lepidoptera The Vapourer Moth – Orgyia Antiqua
During the hottest summer months, and particularly in August and September, a rather small brown moth may be seen almost everywhere, flying rapidly and in a very erratic manner in the bright rays of the midday sun. This is the common Vapourer Moth, which may be known at once by its bright chestnut colour, with darker transverse markings, and a white crescent-shaped spot in the anal angle of the fore wings. It seems somewhat partial to civilised life, for it frequents the streets of our metropolis, even in the very densely populated parts; and the larva is one of the commonest of the insect forms infesting our gardens and squares.
The caterpillar is variously coloured; but the prevailing tints are dark brown, grey, and pink. On the second segment are two long tufts of hair directed forward, and on the twelfth segment a similar tuft directed backward. On each of the segments five to eight inclusive is a brush-like tuft of yellowish hairs. It feeds on almost every tree usually to be found in parks and gardens.
When fully grown it spins a web on the bark of a tree, or on a wall or fence, and changes to a hairy chrysalis.
The female of this species is wingless, and never moves away from the cocoon out of which she has crawled, but lays her eggs on the outside of the silken web, and there remains to die.
The clusters of eggs may be found in abundance throughout the winter months.