We have an ivy (helix) growing up against the wall of our house here in North Yorkshire. Over the past few weeks a number of large, grey caterpillars have been devouring the ivy leaves. They are only noticeable at night and they leave green pellet like deposits on the ground around the base of the ivy. The caterpillars are approximately two to three inches long, elephant grey in colour with small black marks along either uppersides of their bodies and a semi-circular black mark on their tail-end. They blend in extremely well with the mature stems of the ivy so are difficult to view. Our neighbour has exactly the same infestation in his ivy. We cannot remember ever having seen anything like these creatures before.
I would greatly appreciate any help in identifying these.
Unless one of our readers happens to know this one, we're going to need a close-up photo or two...
Without that we can't even say if it is a moth / butterfly / sawfly / or something else.
Many thanks for your reply. I have attached four photos of one of the little chaps taken yesterday evening. Hope they help. Incidentally my wife caught one crawling across our back doorstep (apparently at quite a rate of knots) during this morning so obviously they are not reluctant to wander abroad in daylight.
Unfortunately, it is not one I recognize, other than to say it is probably a moth.
UKmoths includes lots of caterpillar photos, but you might have to do a lot of browsing before you found a match - http://ukmoths.org.uk.
That's the best I can suggest. But there's a chance somebody else here may recognize it.
Just a bit more information: the caterpillar has about 4 tiny claws at the head end that it seems to support itself with whilst feeding. Along the centre area of its body are four sets of legs and then a pair of clasps at its tail end which are separated from the leg area by about 1/2 inch of clear body. The head, containing the mouthparts, is light brown.
Well done; thanks for letting us know; you can mark your own post as 'Correct'.
Your description is that of the basic model of a moth/butterfly larva (there are exceptions, at least superficially). If you find another larva, which does not fit that model, it is probably something else, such as a sawfly.