Kay Easton wrote in message ...
In article .hx,
Kostas Kavoussanakis writes
I was wondering why the new leaves of my giant hollyhocks were full of
holes. I just noticed large (5cm) gray, green and brown caterpillars
on them. Any idea what they are?
Mallow skipper Carcharodus alceae '..up to 23mm, fairly stout ... body
greyish green, tinged with blue; collar behind head conspicuous, banded
with black and yellow; spiracles (breathing holes in skin) yellow with
black rims; head large, black' 'caterpillars live in shelters
constructed from spun, folded leaves'
The Mallow Skipper _Butterfly_ does not occur in the UK as a resident
Larentia clavaria '.. up to 32 mm; green, sometimes yellowish betwen
segments, with whitish dots and black spiracles; a brown or pinkish line
extends down the middle of the back and a dark line along each side;
head whitish with grey-green markings' 'When the caterpillars are
disturbed, they drop to the ground, curled up to resemble mallow seeds'
Moths from both are smallish mottled brown things.
This is the Mallow Moth and the caterpillars are active at around this
time of year.
What you said earlier about caterpillars eating only one plant species
is generally true. However, some are more generalist feeders. This is
particularly the case with some of the moths. For example. I have yet
to find anything that the Garden Tiger moth will not eat. It will even
eat Japanese Knotweed although it seems to prefer other things. I
haven't tried it on Leylandii (yet) :-)
Neil Jones- http://www.butterflyguy.com/
"At some point I had to stand up and be counted. Who speaks for the
butterflies?" Andrew Lees - The quotation on his memorial at Crymlyn
Bog National Nature Reserve