About the Author

Rich Laburn

Head of Digital

Rich is the driving force behind Londolozi’s online storytelling and the founder of the Londolozi blog. His passions of digital media, film and photography have seen him build Londolozi's online ecosystem into a unique platform for advocacy of the restoration and rewilding of ...

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on Procession of Hairy Caterpillars

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The explanation offered seems logical to me?

It would be interesting to see the ends of the procession; how the caterpillars organize and disperse.

Agreed Steve, however this was the only explanation I could find online and was curious as to if there were any others. I am not sure how these caterpillars disperse as they were moving painfully slowly over a period of a number of hours. Thanks for your comments. rich

They go into a tree and then spin an enormous silk web covering the entire group


They know what they’re doing


Ants do something similar when going back and forth between feeding and their nest. There appeared to be a viscous substance, like a string behind the last caterpillar…like a trail, for them to follow. Do they switch leaders, do you know? Like geese in a triangular formation? Or is theleader ALWAYS the same?

I am not sure Geri as there were masses of them. Even identifying where the trail began and ended was quite challenging. Thanks for your thoughts. rich


Rich, I photographed something similar on my plot here in Guateng. Only much smaller caterpillars, presumably with the same defensive strategy. Maybe similar to schools of fish where the unlucky “outsiders” provide the saftey for the mass in getting preyed on first?
My photos with the phone are poor, but you can see the line.

Love this Rich! I had a wonderful encounter with them on my run yesterday. Saw two lines of the caterpillars crossing in the road and it looked like at least 1.5 to 2 metres long. Saw a smaller procession after our stargazing talks last night – absolutely fascinating.


I have just discovered a similar caterpillar “trail” from my lawn onto my verandah! Whilst I like to encourage most forms of wildlife, I do wonder what these caterpillars might consume in my small garden. They look just like the ones in the video above. Can anyone identify them for me?

I was not there to see them start off across the road, ..nor was I there when a car ran over a whole lot of them breaking up the formation. …and this was happening right outside my driveway. …but I heard a commotion
Well I looked out of the window and saw a couple of cars pull up and the crowd gather, so I rushed out to see what had happened.
There I saw this man with a stick in his hand scratching gently at this piece of rope…well from a distance it looked like a rope…that was on the edge of the roadway.
Yes all this was taking place right here in Hoedspruit Wildlife Estate outside my home and when I got to the actual scene I was flabbergasted as I had never seen anything like it before.
There before my eyes was a chain of procession worms that had just come out of a raisin bush and were trying to get across the road.
Well the man with the stick was actually redirecting their course of direction and had turned them from all getting squashed to a route that took them to another raisin bush on my property .
What a phenomenal sight with nature at its best. The front runners..O k crawlers…leaving a white thread behind them… for the guys and gals to follow.
The story ends with them all safely tucked up in bed on another tree on my property
Here are some photos

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10 April, 2798
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