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Awesome Caterpillar

Posted by David Moskowitz on July 28, 2010 at 1:17 PM

My son Sam found this awesome spicebush butterfly caterpillar at camp in the Pocono's the other day. It demonstrates how awesome evolution really is. Take a look at the false eye spots on the top of the body and how closely they mimic an animal eye. (the head is actually at the very tip of he caterpillar). I've read that the spicebush caterpillar is one of the best snake mimics in the eastern United States and from the look of it, evolution did a pretty damn good job. When the caterpillar is disturbed, they often raise the body up so the eye spots are as prominent as possible hopefully startling and fooling a predator to think twice about eating it. Mimicing a snake seems like a pretty good defensive plan for a basically helpless and tasty soft bodied caterpillar...


   




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4 Comments

Reply Liti
6:25 PM on July 28, 2010 
I can't tell if it's cute or mean looking... i guess if i were a bird looking for food, it would not seem cute...
Reply Richard Wolfert
8:36 PM on July 28, 2010 
Great find and really nice shots.

It;s interesting how this adaptation appears with other insects, especially with the moths we had on the last Moth Night.
Reply mraser
9:56 AM on July 29, 2010 
Pretty cool but I bet my lizard (Bob the Bearded Dragon) would STILL eat it!
Reply Claudis
7:48 PM on August 25, 2010 
Dave you guys didn't eat it did you? :)