Cape Lappet Moth Caterpillar

Subject: Unidentifiable Hairy Caterpillar
Location: East London, South Africa
December 25, 2013 5:27 am
Hello WTB. My dad and I came across this hairy caterpillar in my garden in South Africa. Unfortunately none of the insect guides offer pictures of butterfly and moth larvae, and as a result I am familiar with adult butterflies and moths, but know very few of their respective larvae. We found this caterpillar on our Bauhinia gaupinii and I was wondering if you could identify it or give me a rough idea of what it could be so I can research it further. Thanks in advance.
Signature: Simon Robinson

Lappet Moth Caterpillar
Cape Lappet Moth Caterpillar

Hi Simon,
We believe this is a Lappet Moth Caterpillar in the family Lasiocampidae, but we have not had any luck matching its markings to any South African species online.  There are many similar looking Caterpillars on the ISpot website, and the Cape Lappet
, Eutricha capensis, pictured there looks close, but the coloration and markings are different.  We would not discount that this might be individual variation, or perhaps there are changes that occur during the various instars the caterpillars undergo during metamorphosis.  Interestingly, the moment we wrote that comment and returned to ISpot, we followed a link that revealed an example of the Cape Lappet that looks exactly like your individual.

Cape Lappet Moth Caterpillar
Cape Lappet Moth Caterpillar

1 thought on “Cape Lappet Moth Caterpillar”

  1. Hi we also found a exact same caterpillar on my spekboom tree in my balcony. I tried Google but could not find much info on this one until I came to this comment. We have not interered with it but I live in a flat with my cats and I’m worried to let them out on the balcony now as I don’t want them to get stung. Also I live in a big city so I can’t relocate this caterpillar. How long do they take to go to a cocoon stage. My spekboom plant is now almost devoid of leaves


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