Saturday, 13 February 2021

A Real Weirdo


If you observed this creature on a leaf at night you might dismiss it as snail or a slug and move on. But look more closely.

Note the legs (prolegs) which would certainly not be present on a snail or slug.
Also the "head" is not the head but actually the tail. The head of the caterpillar is concealed by the "balloon"at the other end. 

So what is this creature? A check of the Australian Caterpillar website managed by Don Herbison-Evans reveals it is a nolid moth, Chora sp, probably plana Warren. The adult moth is rather plain and inconsequential. A related species can be seen on Buck Richardson's website: Moth Identification. 

The caterpillars have been found on Golden Penda, Xanthostemon chrysanthus and Blake Paperbark, Melaleuca quinquinerva. This one was photographed at Cattana Wetlands, a lowland rehabilitated, natural open marshy area that is being revegetated with trees, shrubs and other plants that were there prior to clearing for sugarcane. If you are in the Smithfield, Queensland area, a stop at Cattana is well worthwhile. The variety of birds is amazing and you can observe an important agricultural area being changed back to its original appearance.

Thanks to Mikey (Kudo Hidetoshi) for helping with this post.

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