Mystery Creature revealed _ the Drinker Moth

How did you do wIth last week’s Mystery Creature? We found it on our little Adventure in our local bog…. it was the DRINKER MOTH CATERPILLAR (Euthrix potatoria).

Although I have not actually seen one of these caterpillars before they are quite common in Ireland and the bog terrain where we found it is very typical habitat. The creature supposedly gets its name from the caterpillar drinking dew from the grasses on which it feeds.

The Drinker Moth Caterpillar
The Drinker Moth Caterpillar

The caterpillars are usually seen between April and July while the Moths (which are nocturnal) can be spotted between June and August.

The caterpillars tend to be more colourful than the moths… the males are a pale brown while the females are a bit more colourful with a yellow hue. The moths have two white spots on the fore wing and a wing span of approximately 70 mm.

photo credit: ajmatthehiddenhouse via photopin cc
photo credit: ajmatthehiddenhouse via photopin cc

To ensure that I had correctly identified this moth I sought confirmation from Michael over at Nature Learn who knows everything there is to know about Irish butterflies and Moths. Michael also had these interesting points to add about “hairy caterpillars”…

 The hairs help them from being predated by birds though the cuckoo is able to eat them

Some hairy caterpillars can cause severe itchiness if touched so best not handled


Check out Nature Learn on Face Book for some wonderful wildlife photos and facts or find out more from this interview.



Science blogger and writer; Owner of Dr. How's Science Wows; Mother of three junior scientists who have taught me that to be a great scientist you need to look at life through the eyes of a child!