Can it st­ing?

go! - - Upfront Letters -

QDEBORA HAMMANN from Cen­tu­rion writes: I saw this worm on a hike in the Dinokeng Game Re­serve near Pre­to­ria. Do you know what it is? And can it st­ing?

AEn­to­mol­o­gist DUN­CAN MACFADYEN says: This is the larva of the guineafowl but­ter­fly – a rel­a­tively large but­ter­fly in adult form with guineafowl-like colour­ing: grey wings with black-ringed white spots. The but­ter­fly is quite a charis­matic species that al­most seems tame. It usu­ally flies low, of­ten set­tling with its wings wide open. The lar­vae feed on the leaves of vel­vet-leafed bush­wil­low and sil­ver clus­ter-leaf trees in sa­van­nah bushveld en­vi­ron­ments. They don’t st­ing; their feath­ery ap­pear­ance aids with cam­ou­flage.

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