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The Extraordianary ‘Skull’ Caterpillar Fighting For Survival In The Australian Rainforest

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Julian Sonny

This incredible specimen depicted above is the skull caterpillar, the very rare and endangered species fighting for its survival in the Australian rainforest.

The larvae of the pink underwing moth, the skull caterpillar has unbelievably colorful and intricate designs on its head, some of which resemble tribal war paint.

Botanist ecologist and photographer Lui Weber managed to snap the rare caterpillar, highlighting its stunning details.

Found below the altitude of 600m in undisturbed, subtropical rainforest, the species survives on the vine Carronia multisepalea, a collapsed shrub that provides the food and habitat the moth requires in order to breed.

“Sadly this moth is very rare I only know of a single adult seen last year so I do not have photographs of the adult yet,” said Lui.


“This southern subspecies is listed as nationally endangered in Australia.

“I was only known to breed in a single location in upland rainforest however this year I have discovered another three locations and a colleague has located one additional site making five locations in total.”

There are plans to put this incredible creature on the endangered species list.

James Gilbert | Elite.

Julian Sonny

Julian Sonny

Editor

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