The following article was kindly written by Woodlore field staff member Sarah Day:
I found this moth larvae on an apple tree in my garden. It is the larvae of a vapourer moth as far as I can tell though it doesn’t have the ‘tail’ tuft shown in a lot of photos. The odd thing about this species is that the female is flightless, looking a bit like a hairy overweight woodlouse! They live on a variety of trees and shrubs, as well as broad bean plants it would seem, as they have demolished mine very efficiently.
While trying to find out exactly what it is, I came across some amazing pictures of our other native caterpillars, we tend not to notice them, or villify them if we do, but they are fascinating, often strikingly beautiful and surprisingly common (hairy caterpillars can cause skin irritations so don’t touch them).
The other two pics: what I suspect is a dead drinker moth caterpillar (huge!) and a common emerald that flew into the house.
I often come across Vapourer caterpillars beneath Sweet Chestnut trees on windy days… it seems they’re not very good at holding on!