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Confucius says…

August 29, 2021

If something is not eating your plants your garden is not part of the ecosystem’. With Spring nigh, expect critters particular young insects to be hatched and hungry. And your treasured vegie garden will not be the only target.

If you look carefully at new gum leaves at the moment you will find ‘flotillas’ of caterpillars of the Gum-leaf Skeletoniser Moth (Uraba lugens). An adult moth will lay between 100 and 200 eggs, twice a year. The resulting caterpillars (see picture left) eat only the surface layer of a leaf on both sides before moving on to the next leaf, leaving the gum-leaf veins – hence the name.

Apart from what they do to leaves the caterpillars are easy to identify because when they moult the head capsule of the exoskeleton remains attached to the body. With successive moultings the structure becomes larger and more distinctive (pictured above).

Despite what Confucius says, those in the timber industry regard these caterpillars as pests. Thinking about it I am not sure that Confucius did say that but he could have.

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