Monday, November 14, 2016

Yeah, More Caterpillars

Let's start with the so-called "Darth Vader Caterpillar."  That's not its real name, it's its Internet name.  The closest I came to getting a definitive ID on this critter was a site which called it the larvae of the Gulf Fritillary Butterfly, which is found from Argentina to SanFrancisco. It is migratory and gets its name from its habit of flying over the Gulf of Mexico.

Other pictures of the Gulf Fritillary look something like this guy, but I still have reservations.  Anyhow, here's more of the alleged Fritillary, and the butterfly it grows up to be...

These 3 are different ages.

Spined soldier bug nymph sucking the juice from a Gulf fritillary caterpillar - Podisus

Next, let's consider the Arctiine Moth.  It's a handsome creature that comes in several varieties, from all over the world.

Also known as Tiger Moths, (this one is an Adult Harnessed Tiger Moth, Apantesis phalerata
which comes from the famous wooly-bear caterpillar).  

But what makes it really interesting is its architectural ability.  The caterpillar is spiny.  And again. there are several forms.  Some are astonishing.

This one doesn't even look real.

This one is more believable.  Now, what do you suppose it does with all those spines?  Just watch!

photo: John Horstman

When it's all done pupating, the Arctiine Moth emerges, mates, lays eggs and the cycle starts again.

Then there's the Pink Underwing Moth from Australia.  Its larval stage is known as the "Big-Headed Caterpillar."  And it has a downright alarming face.

It grows up to look like this:

Lucinda Gibson & Ken Walker, Museum Victoria

Next we have the Brahmin Moth Caterpillar from Bhutan

It grows up to look like this:

  Photo via Wiki Commons - Anaxibia  This is a mounted pair.

OK, now the Spun Glass Slug Moth - Isochaetes beutenmuelleri.  It's pretty amazing-looking as a larvae.

To me it looks more like a marital aid than a bug.  But its splendor departs when it becomes an adult... It is underwhelming from New York to Texas.

But the really disappointing transformation Award goes to Acraga Coa of Mexico, which goes from this:

To this...

Or this, which looks a bit like a poodle to me...

If you're not all bugged out, head over to the websites featuring the macro work of Nicky Bay.  You can easily get lost for hours.  Try it and see - HERE and HERE

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