Green feathery caterpillar
January 17, 2010
My father found this in his home garden. It’s feathery and looks really beautiful . Is it rare? We never seen anything like this at least.
Bangalore, South India
We are unable to provide you with a definitive species identification at the moment, but there is a striking similarity to your caterpillar and the Crowned Slug Caterpillar, Isa textula, from North America. We can say with confidence that they are in the same family, the Stinging Slug Caterpillars in the family Limacodidae. Handle with care as they can sting.
Correction thanks to Karl
January 18, 2009
Well, I probably would have put money on this being a Limacodid caterpillar, but I could find nothing
that looked like a good candidate. I now think it is probably a Baron (sometimes Baronet) butterfly in
the genus Euthalia (Nymphalidae: Limenitidinae). One online list of Indian butterflies listed 53 species
in this genus so I don’t think we are likely to nail this one down. The caterpillar photos I did find all
looked very similar, for example the Common Baron (E. aconthea), which is found throughout India
(http://wapedia.mobi/en/Common_Baron). I couldn’t find any reference to a stinging threat, but I
would certainly avoid touching any caterpillar that looks this prickly. It could all be about camouflage;
feathery spines to break up the outline and a mid-dorsal stripe to mimic the mid-vein of a leaf (check
out the link, above). Regards.