Wednesday, 28 January 2009
La Processionaire du Pin
This is the nest of the chenille processionnaire, the caterpillar that emerges from its cotton wool nests in the pine trees and forms with its fellows a long procession of caterpillars which process nose to tail until they find a suitably sunny spot to transform into moths.
As you can see from the Wikipaedia article these little guys look comic as they inch their way across the ground. However, looks are deceptive as the tiny hairs on their bodies can prove lethal to other animals and I've been told could induce a heart attack in humans. At the least they can provoke an asthma attack or urticaria. Their other undesirable habits include stripping the pines of needles so this is one to leave alone...
We have a nest high up in one of our trees that I can't reach so once the weather warms up I shall be looking for them in our drive way as they come down. I can't risk either the dogs or the cat getting to them first.