Chinese Dragon Caterpillar

The Painted Cup Moth Doratifera oxleyi is quite common and its caterpillars may be found in great numbers feeding on the leaves of the Red Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis).  The two shield-shaped markings at each end of the upper body each surround four yellow-tipped knobs from which stinging hairs can be raised if disturbed. The adult moths are dimorphic (the sexes differ), The females are heavy-set orange-bodied moths and have brown, pale-edged wings (5 cm across). The males are smaller, have a hairy orange body with a white tip on the abdomen, white furry legs and underside, and bluish transparent wings (2 cm across).
 The spines cause intense stinging if they touch the skin, and may even cause large lumps to appear.

This one is less than 2 cms in length and was quite hard to spot.

They have been known to cause nightmares to some sensitive folk and should you be so endowed please forget that you saw this photograph. 

18 thoughts on “Chinese Dragon Caterpillar

  1. That’s a really nice macro shot of an interesting critter! I’ve not heard of this moth or its larvae in our eucalyptus, but we may not have the right type of eucalyptus either!

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  2. Interesting! On one of our camping trips our daughters played with some caterpillars that they found around the campground. A couple of hours later my youngest daughter had a horrible reaction with hives and itchiness all over her body. I am very careful around caterpillars since then!

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  3. There’s something about Australian wildlife that always makes me glad to live in the UK. I may spend most of my life cold and wet but I don’t have to worry about venomous snakes, spiders and, I now discover, caterpillars.

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    1. I was 70 years old when I saw this caterpillar. First time. I saw a snake – in the wild – maybe ten years ago and before that it would have been a few years earlier. Our wild animals are very often the subject of TV series that go to an inordinate amount of trouble, time and expense to scare the living daylights out of easily hoodwinked city dwellers. Here and OS.

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      1. It worked with me. As I watch Aussie Gold Hunters and Outback Opal Hunters (my two main insights into life as an Australian) I am constantly surprised at how little dangerous wildlife they encounter. OK, I say surprised, but I mean disappointed. 🙂

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