Jude Tulloch Artist

A Processionary Caterpillar Breaks Away


Ochrogaster lunifer, a caterpillar of the Bag-shelter moth on its host tree

“As the caterpillars grow, a brown stocking-like nest of silk is formed at the base of the tree at the spot where the eggs were first laid.”

Queensland Museum

That’s what I first saw when weeding around this tree. I thought it was animal fur but my instinct told me no, as there was no dead animal smell. Then it started writhing! This little fellow separated itself from the mass and headed with purpose up the trunk. I videoed it, then moved away to leave the rest in peace.

A wonderful discovery that makes caring for the bush worthwhile, especially since the Acacias that feed this caterpillar have only been able to grow here because we removed all the ground smothering weeds that had stopped the seeds of native plants from germinating.

I hope you enjoy this video as much as the three curious little girls who asked their mum what we were doing. They loved the video on the iPhone. Perhaps they will become nature’s custodians when they grow up.

To find out why these are called processionary caterpillars or “Itchy Grubs”, read the information sheet below.


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