In my previous post I admitted that I missed the Crow butterfly, Euploea core, on my walk around the garden. I still haven’t got a photo of the adult butterfly but here’s the child – the caterpillar.
The caterpillars are brightly coloured, advertising the fact that they are poisonous; like other Milkweed Butterfly caterpillars (Danaids), they absorb toxins from the plants they feed on (see Wikipedia and the Australian Museum for more on this). Oleander is a favourite food plant but in our garden they usually settle for the Desert Rose. This one, however, is feeding on a fig tree. Will it still be poisonous if that’s all it eats? Probably not, but the birds won’t know, will they?
Older caterpillars like this one have the cute habit of snipping part-way through the stem of a leaf to bring it into a more convenient position.
Younger caterpillars of this species are not so dramatically coloured but already sport the four pairs of fleshy tentacles.