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Black caterpillar with very obvious yellow spots ?

Posted by ttaniaa Sydney (My Page) on
Thu, Jan 31, 02 at 19:17

Apart from snails, these creatures are the only things i have been able to find eating away, mostly at my impatiens & coleus.
They are about 2cm long, very black and have a line of bright yellow spots the length of their body. I've not seen that many of them, but those i have, are definitely munching away!
Any ideas what this is & what i should do about them?
Thanks in advance from an appreciative beginner.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Black caterpillar with very obvious yellow spots ?

They love the impatiens, don't they? And by golly can they get through it, and don't they get huge in the process? I don't have that problem since I left Sydney for Queensland, but I found the only solution was to squish them as soon as you spot them. You could try chilli/garlic spray to try and make the leaves unpalatable. Annette

RE: Black caterpillar with very obvious yellow spots ?

My nephews just found some "caterpillars?" matching your description. They are about an inch long, jet black with distinct round yellow spots along the sides. Totally smooth, no hairs or bumps. The six true legs in the front are longer and splayed out to the sides more than other caterpillars. The "legs" at the rear seem to be non-functional. They are also gregarious, I have a cup full of them. These were found eating willow leaves. Anyone have a clue?

RE: Black caterpillar with very obvious yellow spots ?

I've identified my "caterpillars" as being the larvae of the Willow Sawfly

Here is a link that might be useful: Willow Sawfly

RE: Black caterpillar with very obvious yellow spots ?

My daughter used to collect them when she was small, usually from impatiens....she fed them in a bug catcher, hoping for butterflies.....they grew HUGE, and out came huge brown moths, looked like bogen moth but not sure what they were, nasty looking, since then we've fed them to birds.....

RE: Black caterpillar with very obvious yellow spots ?

These caterpillars are the larvae of a native hawk moth. I can't remember its name, but it's a fairly drab looking creature.

RE: Black caterpillar with very obvious yellow spots ?

Davidi is right, they are called Hawk Moths. I always wear gloves when prunning impatiens because they spray a green liquid that causes itching and rashes.
They only eat impatiens, and can destroy an established impatien overnight !
They are currently mauling my seashell yellow impatiens.
Being an animal lover, I can not spray the buggars!!!!
So I just throw them over the fence into a walkway.
ALthough they probably do die from starvation (not being near my impatiens anymore) birds probably eat them.
The moth is an ugly looking thing too. It's just brown and ugly. I grow impatiens really close to each other so they form a hedge agaist a wall that is always shaded. There are many in that one. But the real damage is to my seashell ones,where it is just the 2 plants growing, it's really noticable because they arn't clumped together.

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