ARCTIIDAE Caterpillar

Hairy Caterpillar

I found this very hairy caterpillar a week or so ago.  This morning, I thought I might identify the species, but I can’t find an exact match.  My best guess is that it belongs to the ARCTIIDAE family, otherwise known as ‘Woolly Bears’.  In Australia, there are quite a number of ‘Woolly Bears’ so I wasn’t able to pin it down beyond that.   Looking at some photographs on the Lepidoptera Butterfly House website, it may be one of the Spilosoma species, but precisely which one, I can’t say.

My guess is that the caterpillar was around 5 cm in length.  This particular one is eating the leaf on a long-stemmed, grass-like plant.

 

ARCTIIDAE Caterpillar
It’s easy to see why this family of caterpillars is referred to as ‘Woolly Bears’ While there may be identifying features such as spots or hairless segments, it is difficult to tell from my photograph.

A few days after I took this photo, we saw another caterpillar, just like the one in the photograph below, walking along the ground. It was walking reasonably quickly, so my guess is that it could cover a lot of ground in a day.,

Let me know what you think!

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