I was looking at my Gooseberries today (on the lookout for sawfly which can decimate them very quickly), and I saw this caterpillar. I’ve never seen it before and as it was eating the leaves of the Gooseberry, I didn’t want to leave it alone until I knew what it was.
It turns our to be the larva of the Comma Butterfly, one that I had never seen before (despite mis-identifying it last year in August.
Our “Guide to Butterflies and Moths” was simpler to look at than going through the web and says “the caterpillars live singly on nettles, hops, gooseberries and other plants” which meant that I put it back onto the bush, after all what damage can a single caterpillar do and the Comma is a beautiful butterfly.
I found it interesting that the Comma has two different adults emerging from the same eggs, one is a single generation which hibernates at the end of the summer, the other (which I assume is mine) grows an intermediate generation and its offspring will hibernate. The theory being that if its a good summer there will be more butterflies but if its a bad summer, the first will survive. Isn’t nature clever.