This appears to be some sort of cocoon. It was found in a rhododendron at Kinglake. There was only one.
E. M., Beaufort.
This is a case of a Saunders’ case moth caterpillar.
Its first shelter is mainly silk, with small pieces of leaf attached outside. As the caterpillar grows, it cuts and attaches parallel short bits of twigs. The cases can be found attached to almost any tree or shrub, and the caterpillars eat a surprising range of native and exotic leaves.
From time to time it shifts location, dragging its bulky case behind. The caterpillar readily repairs its silk-lined case when necessary. It can withdraw inside and seal the entrance hole when threatened. There are many species of case moths, with this one being one of the largest. It is clearly much longer than the fingers in the photograph.
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