I’m starting to look more closely at leaves, bark and buds in an attempt to work out the precise mix of tree species on our land. Often it is clear that something has been munching on the leaves and if so, I am beginning to look for caterpillars and larvae. There are still so many moths and butterflies here – we must have caterpillars!
Examining some regrowth from a stump, I found this smooth brown caterpillar looping its way from the tip of a stem down to the thicker part of the new growth. It was the looping action that caught my attention. When I looked more closely, I could see that it had legs at each end of its body, but not in between. The caterpillar was quite long and fat – as thick as my index finger and probably at least 6cm in length, but I didn’t measure it. It could have been slightly larger – it certainly wasn’t any smaller than that.
Initially, I looked at the Lepidoptera Butterfly House caterpillar identification pages on the web, which I have found very useful in the past. On this occasion, I was unable to find something that immediately matched my find. Unsure if they would identify a caterpillar from a photo, I emailed their contact person, Don Herbison-Evans, who was kind enough to let me know that I had found an Arhodia lasiocamparia. This caterpillar transforms into a large brown moth, with a wingspan of 6cm to 7cm. If you would like to read about this moth, and see photos of the wing markings, have a look at the images on the Lepidoptera Butterfly House website. Thank you Don for your help on this one.