Can you name this creature?

Week 30th September to 6th October, 2013

Last week’s alien like Mystery Creature was the Tail Emperor Butterfly caterpillar (Polyura pyrrhus sempronius).  Despite its looks it is quite harmless!

photo credit: teejaybee via photopin cc

Found in Eastern Australia this fairly rare caterpillar feeds on the leaves of various species of wattle (Acacia) as well as Poinciana, Illawaera flame tree, lacebark and kurrajong.  It weaves a loose white cocoon on the leaves of the plant where it stays when not feeding.

As a mature caterpillar it is easy to identify with its four horned head, green body and (usually) two yellows stripes on the third and fifth segments of its body. The caterpillar grows to about 8 cm before pupating into into… the beautiful Tailed Emperor Butterfly!

photo credit: LindaRo2011 via photopin cc

The upper side of the butterflies wings are predominantly white and black.


Science blogger and writer; Owner of Dr. How's Science Wows; Mother of three junior scientists who have taught me that to be a great scientist you need to look at life through the eyes of a child!

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