Four Spotted Cup Moth Caterpillar
This caterpillar or larvae, was eating the leaves of a small eucalypt – possibly a Manna Gum.

It has been very humid here for the last few days.  This means we get some rain later in the day, but not much. Just enough to make it hot and moist the next morning.  So it came to be that I was walking more slowly than usual, and taking a look at some of the leaves overhanging the track around our boundary fence.

This brightly coloured caterpillar, or probably moth larvae if I am being more accurate, caught my eye.  Just as well I didn’t touch it, as I have since found out that the four large red spots contain hairs which sting.

It took me a long time to work out exactly what I had found.  Most of the websites I found with Google searches showed the mature moths and butterflies, so I opened hundreds of entries before I found an image which matched mine.  The tree playing host to the caterpillar/larvae is very small, and has a broken trunk about 2.5 metres from the ground. The branches hanging over the track are slim and lush with regrowth.  I’m just learning how to identify trees, and from what I can work out, I think this tree may be a Manna Gum – the long slender leaves have a eucalyptus scent, and they young leave are similarly long and thin, and also green.  It has small gumnuts which are produced in groups of three.   When I know more about tree identification, it may prove to be a different tree species.

If you would like to see a photo of the moth, take a look at the entry on the Lepidoptera Butterfly House website.