John Dengate sheltered under a tree on a rainy day, but discovered he wasn’t alone. He found a spider’s egg case, dozens of baby spiders, a dead beetle and the cocoon of a white-stemmed gum moth. The tree was home to an amazing number of insects, all interacting with each other and with their environment.
White-stemmed gum moth (Chelepteryx collesi)
This large, hairy moth has wavy, grey-brown lines on its wings. The larvae pupate in tough, dark grey cocoons covered with reddish hairs. John found one of these cocoons on the tree, and warned against touching or handling them. The hairs protect the pupating larvae from predators, and when touched stick into the skin like very fine splinters.