Snake heads and bird droppings – unusual cases of mimicry in the lepidopteran larvae of Britain and Ireland

The long hairs of the Brown-tail caterpillar Euproctis chrysorrhoea, the bright black and yellow stripes of the Cinnabar Tyria jacobaeae caterpillar or the distinctive snake-like appearance of the Elephant Hawk-moth larvae Deilephila elpenor are just a few of the vast variety of defence strategies displayed by lepidopteran larvae. Barry Henwood, Phil Sterling and Richard Lewington