I found this in my back grden. It loops along really quickly, but did amazing leaps and jumps and wriggles when touched. It looked much longer and fatter than the caterpillars we usually see here. Anyone know what it is?
Not an exact match but the closest I can find is the ilia underwing moth, Catocala Ilia.
It appears to be found in US and Canada, but not UK, so,location will be important :)
More here -
Thanks for the ID on this. It's exactly the one and we found it in the gardent after the oak tree had just been pruned. I guess it was living on the tree. We live in Hampshire - close to Southampton.
I have a video of it jumping around if anyone's interested.
I wonder how it got here?
Catocala species are known for migration, but not from America to Europe AFAIK.
In the UK several rare species have been recorded, being migrants/vagrants from continental Europe.
...So, having done some more research, and bearing in mind your location, may I suggest your insect is Light Crimson Underwing, Catocala promissa.
This species is resident in the UK (but may be supplemented by migrants, I suspect), and you are in its range - see the distribution map here
There are several photos of the caterpillar here -
I think you'll agree there is a lot of similarity.
Flight period, food plant, etc. are all OK.
Keep an eye out for adult moths in July and August (they come to light and 'sugar').
In addition to the distribution map above, if you look at this one (http://www.mothscount.org/maps/94/NBN_Maps.html?filter=L&species=NHMSYS0000501672) you'll see the range seems to have contracted, the species having been recorded from just a few squares since 2000, which are in your area. Because of that rarity, I suggest you submit this record to MothsCount - http://www.mothscount.org/.
The basic way to take part is explained here - http://www.mothscount.org/text/70/how_to_take_part.html.
I defer to the greater expertise of Mr Hardman.
Of course he's bang on the money - good work Mike.
The location looks like a clincher.
Moths are not my speciality :)
Deference: thank you kind Sir, though it was you who got us started in the right direction.
Specialty: little by little..., and we're all experts and ignoramuses depending on the context.