From Incredible to Ordinary: Wattle Cup Caterpillar


 
via: brisbaneinsects.com
 via: brisbaneinsects.com
via: brisbaneinsects.com
 Habitat: widespread in northern Australia
Status: No Conservation Concerns
This amazingly fierce-looking caterpillar is the larva of the Wattle Cup Moth (Calcarifera ordinata). It undergoes a remarkable transformation from being brightly colored with spots of blue and red and streaks of yellow and green to a dull cream color (shown below). The caterpillars resemble slugs in their movements, using their sticky undersides to pull themselves along. 

You may want to handle this beautiful caterpillar… but definitely DO NOT! Those spines along its body give off an incredibly potent sting which has been described as “worse than three wasp stings.” Not something you’d want to experience, I’m thinking.
 
via: titam.hautetfort.com

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  • Anonymous

    We used to have these (or something like them) as far south as Sydney when I was a kid. We called them “spitfires”, and one summer they were *everywhere*. Everyone knew not to touch them of course…

  • Anonymous

    Wow! It is so gorgeously creepy. I’m glad it’s not where I live…

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02922758516478496132 John

    This is a very beautiful and interesting research. The most educating one i have read today! GED Online

  • Jenny

    Yesterday I ve been pricked by it in my face. It was on a leaf in a tree I went through… I was so lucky to realize this beautiful animal trough this haha 😉
    And.. its not to bad if you dont move the part where it got you 😉

  • Jennie

    When I was growing up in Sydney years ago we called these “Chinese Junks”. Everyone knew they had a really bad sting so you kept out of their way.

  • Jennie

    Anonymous – We had “Spitfires” a plenty in Canberra, but they were different – larva of a sawfly and ugly as sin. Big masses of them lived together in gumtrees and were very nasty creatures to contend with.