Currently viewing the category: "Anthelidae"
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Subject: Large moth caterpillar in Australia
Location: Canberra, Australia
January 22, 2015 4:05 am
Hi, we found this on the side of our house about a year ago (5th January 2014) in Canberra, Australia. It was a huge caterpillar, about 5″ (15cm) long, for size reference you can see standard house bricks it’s resting on.
Signature: Dug

Batwing Gum Moth Caterpilar

Batwing Gum Moth Caterpilar

Hi Dug,
We believe we have correctly identified your Caterpillar as a White Stemmed Gum Moth Caterpillar or Batwing Gum Moth Caterpillar,
Chelepteryx collesi, in the family Anthelidae thanks to the Butterfly House website where it states:  “This Caterpillar is a great hazard to people climbing Gum trees. Scattered over its skin are tufts of long stiff reddish hairs, which are strong enough to penetrate human skin. When they do, they are very painful, and difficult to remove because they are barbed and brittle. if one should lodge in the eye, it can cause serious sight problems.” The site also notes:  “It is also one of the largest Caterpillars in Australia, growing in length to about 12 cms. Some trees where they may be found most years in Leichhardt are known by local school-children as ‘sausage trees’ because the Caterpillars look from the ground like sausages growing in the trees.”  According to Zip Code Zoo:  “Anthelidae is a family of Australian lappet moths in the Lepidoptera order. It was previously included in the Lasiocampoidea superfamily, but a recent study resulted in reincluding the family in the superfamily Bombycoidea.”

Sue Dougherty, Juliett Moth, Andrea Leonard Drummond, Amy Gosch liked this post
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Spitfire Grub?
Location: Canberra
January 25, 2012 9:54 pm
Woud you please identify this bug, found in a dwarf snow gum on 26 January 2012 at 1100.
Signature: Bill Reid

White Stemmed Gum Moth Caterpillar

Hi Bill,
After some searching, we determined that your caterpillar is a member of the family Anthelidae.  According to the Encyclopedia of Life:  “a small family of moths restricted to Australia, New Guinea and the adjacent Aru archipelago. At present the family comprises 74 species in 8 genera described from Australia (Edwards and Fairey 1996) and 20 species from new Guinea in one endemic genus and one genus shared with Australia. However, numerous distinct species have already been identified as undescribed in museum collections such as the Australian National Insect Collection (ANIC).”  Some taxonomists consider them to be closely related to the Lappet Moths and Tent Caterpillars.  We eventually identified your caterpillar as
Chelepteryx collesi, the White Stemmed Gum Moth on the Butterfly House website where we learned that “This Caterpillar is a great hazard to people climbing Gum trees. Scattered over its skin are tufts of long stiff reddish hairs, which are strong enough to penetrate human skin. When they do, they are very painful, and difficult to remove because they are barbed and brittle.”  Another bit of information from Butterfly House is:  “It is also one of the largest Caterpillars in Australia, growing in length to about 12 cms. Some trees where they may be found most years in Leichhardt are known by local school-children as ‘sausage trees’ because the Caterpillars look from the ground like sausages growing in the trees.”

Hi Daniel
Thank you so much for this information.  I have many friends here and overseas that are interested.
A great service that you provide.
Best wishes
Bill Reid

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

caterpillar freakazoid
we found a caterpillar yesterday in our driveway that is just under 8 inches long about 18cm! we dont know what kind it is. its freaky looking and is furry and spiky. can u help us out. we live in an urban area in north west NSW of australia. we dont think its a native.
Angela Ritter NSW Australia

Hi Angela,
The White Stemmed Gum Moth Caterpillar, Chelepteryx collesi, is a native species that we located on the Australian Caterpillars website. It is in the family ANTHELIDAE that is confined to Australia and New Zealand. The website explains that: “This Caterpillar is a great hazard to people climbing Gum trees. Scattered over its skin are tufts of long stiff reddish hairs, which are strong enough to penetrate human skin. When they do, they are very painful, and difficult to remove because they are barbed and brittle.” It is also noted that: “It is also one of the largest Caterpillars in Australia, growing in length to about 12 cms. Some trees where they may be found most years in Leichhardt are known by local school-children as ‘sausage trees’ because the Caterpillars look from the ground like sausages growing in the trees.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination