21 Jul 2017

Critter of the Week: The Vegetable Caterpillar

From Afternoons, 3:31 pm on 21 July 2017
The Vegetable Caterpillar

The Vegetable Caterpillar Photo: supplied

Vegetable caterpillars are neither vegetables, nor caterpillars (well not living ones anyway), but are instead the mummified remains of Porina moth caterpillars found in the forest, that have been taken over by a fungus!

They have been a curious object of fascination by New Zealanders for hundreds of years, but they are a well-studied species of fungus called Ophiocordyceps robertsii. 

DoC's Threatened Species Ambassador, Nicola Toki tells us all about this wonderous critter.