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Last Updated: Friday, 4 July, 2003, 10:10 GMT 11:10 UK
Poisonous caterpillar in pot plant
Saddleback caterpillar
The saddleback caterpillar is mildly poisonous
A poisonous caterpillar usually found in America has turned up in Wrexham after being carried thousands of miles across the Atlantic on a house plant.

The insect, known as a saddleback, was found by Emma and Andy Evans from the Marford area of the town.

It was found nestling on a plant bought from the local B&Q store.

The couple, who have a son Oliver, immediately took the caterpillar to their neighbour Dr Clive Cornford, who is science leader at the North East Wales Institute (NEWI) in Wrexham.

College spokesman Andrew Parry said the insect was being well cared for.

Oliver Evans with the saddleback caterpillar
Oliver Evans holds the rare caterpillar found by his parents

"When Clive saw it he immediately identified it as a saddleback," he said.

"They are found quite commonly in America but there's only been one reported sighting in Britain."

The caterpillar is bright green back with a brown patch on its back which looks like a saddle - hence its name.

It has tiny spines which can sting and inflame peoples fingers.

College bosses in Wrexham have now contacted the government's Plant Health Group in York and the caterpillar will be transported there.

The saddleback caterpillar is a recognised "pest" species which is widespread throughout the eastern and southern United States.

US caterpillar found in Somerset
24 Feb 03  |  England
Fear over poisonous caterpillars
09 Aug 02  |  England

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