Thaumetopoea pityocampa (Pine processionary)

Pine processionary is a moth native to central Asia, North Africa, and Southern Europe. These are the larva, caterpillars, of the moth. They overwinter in tent-like nests high in pine trees, come spring, proceed down the tree’s trunk and through the woods in nose-to-tail columns.

They were photographed just outside of Kathmandu, Nepal in Shivpuri Nagarjun National Park श्र शिवपुरी नागार्जुन राष्ट्रिय निकुञ्ज.

For more information. (

Technical Details

Composite: No
Panasonic DMC-FX33. Processed in Photoshop Camera Raw, chop added in Photoshop.

The challenge of the photograph was to present the processionary behavior and show that the line is a multitude of individual caterpillars head-to-tail.


Wow, Paul, so glad you explained what was going on here. I had to look two or three times before I saw the caterpillars. Very interesting and quite unique. Thank you for sharing with NPN group.

Thanks, Linda,

Check the Wikipedia article for more. The encounter was amazing. I noticed the line on the tree trunk and started looking closely, and a local naturalist friend rushed over in a frenzy shouting in Nepali. I finally got the concern. At that stage, the caterpillars have tiny sharp hairs to can cause an intense skin reaction. It’s best not even to get close since they have the ability to eject the hairs, and they are like harpoons.

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Wow, that is very neat Paul, thank you sharing this amazing moment ion nature with us.

I’ll admit that at first I did not read all of your description, I read the first sentence, saw “moth” and then looked at the image. At first I though this was a “Wheres Waldo” camouflage thing and thought the"moth" might be some of the green lichen in the ULC. Only then did I read your entire description, and was amazed to find what I was really looking at.

Great nature story telling image !!

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Paul, before reading your description I thought what a beautiful abstract. Like it even better after reading it. Nice image.

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