I'M IN WILDLIFE ‘helpline’ mode this week after two Advertiser readers sent me photographs of nature discoveries that they would like identified.

The first was a large and most unusual looking caterpillar discovered by a local man on a rose bush in his garden.

It was a long caterpillar (about 7.5cms long) and so well camouflaged that it looks just like a rose stem.

Indeed, I suspect readers’ might have difficulty in even seeing the creature in the photograph shown here (it is just in front of the tip of the man’s thumb and looks like a vertical green twig).

The organisation Butterfly Conservation Scotland has confirmed to me that this is the caterpillar of the peppered moth.

The caterpillar features a deeply cleft head which looks like the end of a broken stem. They are perfectly camouflaged on rose stems and even the legs resemble thorns.

Peppered moths are reasonably common, but are rarely seen because of their excellent camouflage. This includes the adult moths, with their mottled wings and body coloration blending in perfectly with the background.

The second photograph query was even trickier because it featured a mushroom or toadstool. Fungi can be extremely difficult to identify because there are so many different species, but this one certainly stands out from the crowd because it is so large.

Identification is made more difficult because the cap of this fungus is past its best. But the thick stalk and general large size of the specimen makes me think it belongs to the boletus family of fungi, with this species probably being a cep or penny bun.

Ceps occur widely and are edible, indeed even much sought after on the continent for their fine flavour. I would, however, never recommend picking wild fungi for food unless you really know your stuff. It is all too easy to misidentify a species and end up being poisoned.