What's up with this furry caterpillar trail?

Earlier in the day there were about 8 hairy caterpillars moving end-to-end near my gutter…

Later there were dozens end-to-end with some large gaps…

I was wondering what are they? Moths or something? And what’s going on?

Pics:

Google “Pine Processionary Caterpillar”, or “oak Processionary Caterpillar”.

They both seem more common in Southern Europe, but don’t touch them with bare skin whatever…:slight_smile:

Cool thanks. BTW I’m in coastal Australia. It seems like these turn into moths. BTW I accidently squashed one (putting out the bins) and I think it left greeny-yellow goo.

On a related note (does not sound like what the OP describes, but interesting enough to mention, there are caterpillars that walk along the ground as a group, walking over each others’ backs - allowing the group to move faster than any of the individuals in it are capable of travelling.

Explained here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbFMkXTMucA

What’s really cool is when they follow each other around in a circle, even to the point of dying of starvation.

Teenage boys have been known to arrange for this to happen by gentle guidance of the line till the front hooks on to the back. So I’ve heard. I wouldn’t know anything about it personally. No sirree, not me. Would never have done anything that cruel. Not I.

Ah, thats what was leaving big patches of greeny yellow goo on my windscreen… obviously a greeny yellow goo moth… lays greeny yellow goo caterpillars.

Down beside the river, you may find trees, furniture, vehicles, just covered in them.
I saw that … an entire car just totally covered in these guys !
What are they doing travelling in a line like that ?

Well its safer. See if they spread out they find every danger.

If they travel in a line, they may well find no dangers, and if they do, they overwhelm it. eg While they sacrifice some to the ants, the rest can make their escape.