To see a list of the Australian caterpillars that are included in this gallery
Caterpillars are the larvae of moths and butterflies, and although butterflies are often credited with being the most beautiful of insects, the caterpillars from which these glamorous creatures finally evolve have their own unique beauty.
Many, as shown in the images in this photo gallery, are extremely colourful, but their attractive appearance often hides a dark secret, for not all caterpillars are as harmless as they might appear.
Some caterpillars feast on foliage that contains toxins that would prove harmful, even fatal, to humans who might be foolish enough to consume a plant’s leaves, but the caterpillars suffer no detrimental affects from the food that they ravenously devour. In fact, some gain positive benefits from their favoured foods. The plant toxins that they store in their bodies are ultimately used as chemical weapons, which are merely one of the varied defence strategies that caterpillars employ to deter predators, such as birds and reptiles. Humans too need to be aware of the dangers of some caterpillars that, with their hairy spines, can inflict a painful sting.
CLICK ON A PHOTO TO SEE A LARGER VIEW AND FOR INFORMATION ABOUT THE IMAGE.