Subject: Rainbow spiky caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug: Victoria, Australia
Time: 08:50 PM EDT
I was at St Andrews market around February or June 2017 when I saw a strange rainbow caterpillar on the tree. It had green spikes and was about the size of a fingernail. It looked poisonous because of it’s spikes but I have no idea.
How you want your letter signed: From Bethany
In North America, we refer to this as a Stinging Slug Caterpillar in the family Limacodidae, and in Australia, the family members are known as Cup Moths. Based on images posted to the Brisbane Insect site, we are confident this is a Four Spotted Cup Moth Caterpillar, Doratifera quadriguttata. The Brisbane Insect site states: “The Four-spotted Cup Moth caterpillar is colourful, with pale green body, pink back with black and white patterns on the top. There are eight green spikes on the each side, at the front and end there are a pair of red spikes. On the top of thorax section, there are four hidden red spikes, will erect with stinging hairs when disturbed.” According to Butterfly House: “Red stinging hairs are protruded from the four at the front on the thorax when the caterpillar is disturbed.”