An interesting caterpillar

We found an interesting caterpillar on one of our gum trees on Friday last week. It was very well camouflaged. We took some photographs of it:

caterpillar

caterpillar caterpillar
caterpillar

It was on a young Eucalyptus leucoxylon var rosea and was about 10cm long when moving up the trunk.

We found this site
http://www.usyd.edu.au/macleay/larvae/larvae.html about identifying Australian caterpillars but we were unable to work out which it was.

I sent an email with some photographs to Don Herbison-Evans who has setup the website and he has been very helpful. He has narrowed it down to being in family Lasiocampidae. He thinks that Entometa fervens is the most likely, but doesn’t know if it has the black display bands. A picture of this species is here:
http://www.usyd.edu.au/macleay/larvae/lasi/fervens.html.

Another species, Paraguda australasiae does have the bands but feeds on wattles, not gum trees. A picture of this species is here:
http://www.usyd.edu.au/macleay/larvae/lasi/austra.html.

He suggested that we try to rear in in captivity to see what the moth looks like. We have caught it and been feeding it. Last night it pupated. So with a bit of luck we will have a moth to photograph in six or seven weeks.

caterpillar

It has made a cocoon between three gum leaves and the tissue that I had at the bottom of the bowl. The pupa inside the leaves is 4cm long.

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