Not sure if you can identify caterpillars from Africa but the picture of one attached is ‘bugging’ us. We would love to know what its called, and whether its poisonous? We came across several in a garden near Port Elizabeth, South Africa. It was about the size of an average index finger. 3-4 inches long. thank you Regards
Fran and John Barnes (England – UK)
Hi Fran and John,
All we can say for certain is that this is a Saturnid Moth Caterpillar, and it looks like one of the Royal Moths, the group that contains the Hickory Horned Devil in the U.S. Though formidable looking, these are not poisonous caterpillars.
(03/28/2007) Royal Moth caterpillar from S.Africa
Hello Daniel and Lisa Anne, Apologies for having been silent so long; I have quite a few images of edible insects to send [in fact I recently supplied edible bugs to The Tonight Show!] but am having trouble formatting them for appropriate sizes. This dramatically-colored caterpillar from South Africa: it’s Bunaea alcinoe, as found in Kirby Wolfe’s wonderful Saturnid site. And yup, it’s edible throughout several southern African countries. Here’s the pertinent web page: http://www.insectcompany.com/silkmoth/kwbalcinoe.htm
All the best,
Hi again Dave,
Thanks so much for the identification and link. Further research on our part has revealed a common name, the Cabbage Tree Emperor Moth.
10 thoughts on “Cabbage Tree Emperor Moth from South Africa: Bunaea alcinoe”
I have photographs of these caterpillars and a cabbage tree stripped of all its leaves. Anyone interested can contact me at [email protected]. They are currently very active and will soon start to pupate.
We have just viewed these caterpillars in my wild plum tree in Plett. Wasps had laid eggs in many, but last evening 7 or 8 (all that were left) descended from the tree and buried themselves in the garden. Is that where they stay until moth stage?
That is correct.
Thank you. When will the moths emerge?
I found these worms on a tree in my garden, not sure what tree this is.
Took pictures of them when they started falling down to the ground, hundreds of them.
Have pics to share – [email protected]
Please send the photos using our identification request form: http://www.whatsthatbug.com/ask-whats-that-bug/
We have 18 in our garden at the moment. I see them digging holes into grass. Is this normal? Do they transform underground?
Yes, they pupate underground.
Wat do they eat?
We presume the leaves of the cabbage tree.