This beast of a caterpillar was in my reedbed this morning. It's about 75mm long and has the general form of moth or butterfly caterpillar, but the skin is unusually smooth and reflective. The profile is also flatter. I've never seen one and would be delighted to know what it is.
Many thanks, Tony Martin
You're a star, and clearly spot on. Thanks. This larva's boring habits explain its appearance, which is what threw me. It looked like a creature that bored into wood, and I just didn't realise that any British moth did that. The mouth-parts were pretty formidable, too; again, explained by the boring.
I didn't notice the smell, but I have to say that I didn't think of putting that mouth anywhere near my nose!
Best regards, and thanks again,
You're very welcome.
Always good to have a happy 'customer'.
Oh, BTW, there are some insects that will eat their way through metal as well!
...Timber with lead flashing, I think. It is a recollection in which I can't remember the name of the insect, unfortunately