A “biodiversity wonder” resembling a fern leaf has left dozens in awe of its unique beauty when a NSW resident shared footage of the creature found in her backyard.
Marte Blaker found the green leaf-shaped insect in a garden bed at her home in Billinudgel, north of Byron Bay.
She told Yahoo News Australia she’d never come across anything like it before, describing it as “quite special”.
Ms Blaker took to Facebook in search of answers over its true identity, sharing footage of the bug. Her post was quickly inundated with comments from users in disbelief over her discovery.
“Look at this crazy and amazing creature!” one person said.
“Nature never ceases to amaze me. Awestruck in wonder of its biodiversity,” another said.
Many pointed out the insect shared a strong resemblance to a fern leaf. Some even said they struggled to comprehend it was a “terrestrial species”.
“Truly incredible,” one person added.
Senior Curator of Entomology at Museums Victoria Dr Ken Walker revealed to Yahoo News Australia the bizarre find was a lichen-mimicking eucyclodes caterpillar and was known for its “great camouflage”.
Entomologist and nature photographer Matthew Connors said the main purpose of its appearance was to help it avoid predators.
“The reason for its strange appearance is not so much that it wants to look like a fern but more that it’s aiming to look less like a caterpillar,” he told Yahoo News Australia.
“It helps in confusing predators that are looking for prey that looks like a regular caterpillar”.
Mr Connors said they live on or near lichen, helping it to remain camouflaged.
The caterpillars and resulting moths can be found across Australia but are most common along the east coast in NSW and Queensland.
It’s not the first time a mysterious insect has baffled the online community after a maggot resembling a tampon was found in Victoria.
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