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Cupmoth pupation

Doratifera vulnerans


Watch it turn itself inside out! This whole process took approx. 3 hours. 1. The caterpillar finds a node on a branch of about 6mm thick, chews off some bark, and attaches some silk to the timber below. It then begins to wind silk around its head swinging it's head in figure eights. 2. The silk is worked from the inside down over the body. In pic#2 you can see the black head through the silk. 3. The body curls up backwards as the silk is extended. 4. The last parts to remain open are the spiky tufts with the stinging hairs so it might be difficult to attack these creatures even during this vulnerable phase. 5. The spiky tufts are finally brought into the centre, retracted and covered. 6. The silk is continually worked from the inside until the cocoon is a single colour and opaque. The caterpillar can be seen moving within the cocoon for several hours afterwards seemingly to adjust its position and to 'shrink' the cocoon onto itself. The cocoon then changes colour and hardens over a couple of hours to a brown-grey just like a gum nut.


Eucalyptus forest.


Moth (martinl)... Final instar... Earlier instar (Leuba)... With any luck we will see the moth emerge in some weeks. October 17 this one finally emerged as a moth here...

No species ID suggestions

28 Comments (1–25)

pamsai 5 years ago

Wow, missed this one! amazing series of photos. Love photo 4 with all the spikes left outside. Unbelievable how they manage to do this by instinct.

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 5 years ago

..and without stinging themselves :-) Thanks Pam.

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 6 years ago

Thanks al-ee-oop... This is how to bend over backwards to build yourself a home.

al-ee-oop 6 years ago


Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 6 years ago

Thanks Mayra, Ava and Courtney. I still can't get over how they deal with their own prickles. Nature is so clever.

MayraSpringmann 6 years ago


Ava T-B
Ava T-B 6 years ago

What an amazing series of pictures!

courtneyhitson 6 years ago

Wonderful series!

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 6 years ago

Thanks GA

Gerardo Aizpuru
Gerardo Aizpuru 6 years ago

Agree whit Bayucca excellent documentation !
Wonderful series.

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 6 years ago

Thanks bayucca, ShannaB, Nopayahnah.

bayucca 6 years ago

Excellent documentation. I have never seen a "round" cocoon.

ShannaB 6 years ago


Maria dB
Maria dB 6 years ago

This is absolutely wonderful, Argybee. Thanks for sharing this with us!

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 6 years ago

Thanks all so much. It was a beautiful day for it.
Watch for the movie coming soon to a cinema near you (after I've edited out that camerman saying WOW every few seconds)

starleaf 6 years ago

Absolutely fantastic. You learn something new everyday at Project Noah.

LarsKorb 6 years ago


achmmad 6 years ago

Agree with Lars! An expensive spotting ...

Sergio Monteiro
Sergio Monteiro 6 years ago

One of the nicest spots I've seen here (if not the best). Congratulations.

LarsKorb 6 years ago

Quiet fantastic series, Argy. Even if it was a fast process for the specimen, you really took your ime - and it paid. Thanks for sharing.

MartinL 6 years ago

Well done Argybee. This is the step that I have missed. It is more impressive than I imagined.

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 6 years ago

Thanks for the positive comments everyone.
I have really enjoyed doing this one.

VivBraznell 6 years ago

Brilliant series! Look forward to the next stage : )

Hema 6 years ago

great work!

CindyBinghamKeiser 6 years ago

Great series of this very interesting caterpillar!

Victoria, Australia

Lat: -37.90, Long: 145.31

Spotted on Mar 17, 2012
Submitted on Mar 17, 2012

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