Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

Gum emperor larva

Photo from Robyne Kippen

Photo from Robyne Kippen

Opodiphthera eucalypti (Scott)

Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Saturniidae

Size range

  • A large caterpillar, 90–100 mm long


  • Australian
  • In New Zealand, North Island, Nelson and Christchurch. Maybe also Dunedin.

Life History

  • Caterpillar host plants are eucalyptus, pepper trees, silver birch, apricot, grape vines
  • Damage can be extensive if there are large numbers of caterpillars
  • For the adult to emerge from the hard, nut–like cocoon, it must rasp through the tough exterior. The sound of this process has been likened to a rat gnawing

Additional images