Linked to: Scenic Weekends, Shadow Shot Sunday2, Straight out of the Camera Sunday, Monday Mellow Yellows, Macro Monday2, I Heart Macro, Our Beautiful World, Blue Monday, Ruby Tuesday, Our World Tuesday, Skywatch Friday, Weekend Reflections & Alphabe-Thursday where *P* is for our seasonal hazard here in the Southern Mediterranean:
Pine Processional Caterpillars
Pine Processionary Moth (PPM) larvae (caterpillars) feed on the needles of pine trees and other conifer tree species, forming candy floss-like cocoons. In large numbers they can severely defoliate trees, weakening them (above photos) and making them more susceptible to attack by other pests or diseases, or to environmental stress caused by drought or rainstorms. PPM gets its name from its distinctive habit of moving about in nose-to-tail processions:
They represent a public health hazard because they have thousands of hairs which contain an irritating protein called thaumetopoein. These hairs can be blown by the wind into contact with people and animals, resulting in painful skin irritations and rashes and, sometimes, allergic reactions in people and death in animals.
This is how a healthy Mediterranean Umbrella pine should look: