Woodland Picture Gallery 1 2

Lobster Moth Caterpillar, Centipede, The Cabin, Cock Pheasant, Comma

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Dot Moth Caterpillar Centipede Centipede

A Dot Moth caterpillar at rest on a leaf.   Caterpillars of this species are found during August to October and feed mostly at night on dock, nettle, plantain, elder and willow.  They pupate under ground during the autumn and the adult emerges the following summer.  The female will lay her eggs singly or in groups on the food plant where they will hatch after about a week.  The Dot Moth is found widely across southern Britain but is more sparsely distributed in the north.  They are found in gardens, hedges, roadsides and patches of waste ground.

A Centipede in the hand!  There are 44 species of centipede in Britain.  Although the name centipede suggests 100 legs, adult centipedes in Britain have a total of 30.  They are born with 14 legs but each time the exoskeleton is shed as the centipede grows, extra legs appear.
Centipedes are fast moving nocturnal carnivores.  They will catch and eat slugs, spiders, worms, insects and even other centipedes.  They use pincer like claspers to grab their prey and then inject a lethal poison which paralyses it.

Centipedes will try to escape from bright light, running quickly over your hand.  Unlike most insects, centipedes lack a protective waxy coat over their exoskeleton.  This means that they can quickly dry out  if exposed to extreme warmth or bright sunlight.  When disturbed on the woodland floor they tend to scurry away to find a dark moist crevice under the ground or in the leaf litter.  Their hunting activities take place at night when sunlight is not a problem.  They have poor vision but use their sensitive antennae to feel vibrations made by their prey. 



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The Cabin Cock Pheasant Comma

The Log Cabin is one of the best known features at the Woodland Education Centre in East Devon, England.  Every year, it serves as a busy focus for the environmental education activities of thousands of visiting school children as well as many adult groups.  Situated in the Northern Study Area of the Centre, it overlooks one of several valuable ponds which support a wide variety of native wildlife from plants to dragonflies and kingfishers.  It was built using the American Full Scribe technique, a method where each successive layer of logs is carefully contoured to fit the layer below.  All the timber used for the main structure was grown within 200 metres of where the Log Cabin now stands.




More info & Log Cabin image gallery

A cock Pheasant surrounded by bluebells.   Pheasants are a familiar sight in the British countryside.  They were introduced to Britain for game purposes hundreds of years ago.  Today they are bred in captivity in large numbers and released into the countryside as young adult birds.   Without this programme of breeding for game purposes, pheasants would eventually dissappear from the British countryside.  Many get killed on our roads and they are also preyed upon by foxes.  Pheasants eat a variety of foods including seeds and invertebrates from the woodland floor.  Many of the released pheasants will live to breed in the wild.  Males fight each other for territories during the spring and try to keep as many females as possible in their own territory.  The camoulage brown female lays a clutch of eggs in her nest on the ground during the Spring.  The young are able to feed themselves straight after birth.  The adult male takes no part in raising the young after they are born.

A Comma butterfly basking in warm sunlight.  The Comma is a common sight throughout southern England and Wales and is most often seen in woodlands and gardens.  It hibernates during the winter on the lower branches of trees.  The brown undersides of its ragged-edged wings are marked by a characteristic creamy white comma, giving the butterfly its name.  The butterfly feeds on nectar while its black and white caterpillar resembles bird droppings and feeds mainly on nettles.  Many years ago when most local communities grew their own hops to make beer, comma caterpillars were a familiar sight feeding on the hop plants and were known as "hopcats".  For some unknown reason, the comma was nearly extinct in Britain from around 1830 to 1920, but numbers have now increased significantly.


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List of images in this gallery


All images copyright Offwell Woodland & Wildlife Trust