Sociable or scared!  The hairy caterpillars of the Cape Lappet Moth (Eutricha capensis) congregate in clusters on tree trunks and branches  during the day and venture out under cover of darkness to eat the leaves of their host plant.  These photos were taken by artist John Strickland in his Clovelly garden.  Note their liliac headdresses. In fact the caterpillars are more showy than the heavy bodied reddish brown moths.  Beware the coppery coloured hairs of the caterpillars can irritate the skin so don’t be tempted to handle them.

 The Zandvlei Trust report seeing them on the shrubs of the yellow daisy Bitou bush.  They also feed on brazilian pepper, rooikranz and portjacksonand on a range of indigenous trees including, white stinkwood (Celtis) and bush willow (Combretum). 

The Cape Lappet Moth is a large pale reddish brown moth with 3 wavy white lines on each wing.  This species of the Lasiocampidae family of moths is quite common in coastal regions ofSouth Africa.  For a photo of the moth have a look at the Moths page on the Zandvlei Trust Website.

KimK 18 Sept 2012