The menace of the dangerous and sometimes deadly critter known as the Pine Processionary Caterpillar

The return of the dangerous and often deadly critter known as the Pine Processionary Caterpillar. Image: Goran Jakus/

Unlike the vast majority of caterpillars, this particular species can be harmful to young children and sometimes fatal to dogs and cats.

Between December and April, the larvae will make their way to the ground to pupate and eventually turn into moths between May and July. It is during these months that pets and young children are most vulnerable.

The processionary caterpillar is mostly found in wooded forests and can be identified by the thousands of small fine poisonous hairs or bristles that cover their bodies, they are roughly three to four centimetres in length. The name ‘processionary’ comes from the fact that they create a procession or caterpillar-style ‘conga’ from head to tail to form a long chain. It is not unheard of to see chains with hundreds of them all joined together.

The caterpillars can often be found in oak trees, which is where they were first discovered in the UK in 2006. However, in Spain, they are more commonly found in pine trees which of course are a frequent sight.


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Written by

Anna Ellis

Originally from the UK, Anna is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]