Wednesday, November 30, 2011

what's that bug with the green sweater?

Have you ever seen anything like this?!  It was crawling on my sweetshrub (Calycanthus 'Hartlage Wine') a few weeks ago.   I found out it's a saddleback caterpillar, native to eastern North America.  That little green sweater likely serves to protect it from potential predators in one way or another.



I thought it looked cute colored like that.  Fortunately I looked it up before I tried to pet it because fuzzy and friendly, it isn't! There are stingers all over it capable of producing lasting and very painful stings.



The fuzz looks more like stingers in this photo.

Eventually saddleback caterpillars become nondescript moths, small and brown.  I won't be too upset if I don't see any more, but I'm glad I got pictures of this one.

Acharia stimulea - Saddleback Caterpillar Moth
Insects of the Duke campus:  Acharia stimulea