Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Camouflaged loopers

More goodies from down the street... What has befallen into my lap today but six darling camouflaged loopers (Synchlora aerata). These caterpillars are intriguing due to their habit of decorating their bodies with bits of shredded flower petals and leaves.

When they were first brought over and I was shown the contents of the plastic cage, I could not recognize them amongst the flowers and grass. Of course once one was pointed out, the others became obvious. But wow what a great defense!

Here is one mostly decorated.
And here is one who was missing all his camouflage! It likely came off during collection (the bits are only held on by strands of silk). However while I was preparing to take photos, it got ahold of one little leaf scrap to add to its back.These caterpillars typically only change their outfits when they molt, but some species (there are several decorators in this genus) will change their camouflage every day to keep it fresh. And of course if for some reason their plant materials are lost, they will dutifully replace them.

5 comments:

Black Squirrel Knits said...

Oh my goodness, sooo cool!

Nature ID said...

This is a really fun post!

barry goldman said...

way cool! it should be living in a coral reef.

Anonymous said...

Neat! We found a Large Maple Spanworm (Prochoerodes transversata) caterpillar once while we were pulling sweet clover. It was doing its best to look like a twig:
http://c.photoshelter.com/img-get/I0000KVOyUUCrfuU/s
The adults are pretty unusual, too:
http://booksandnature.homestead.com/Large_Maple_Spanworm.jpg

Boris kreiman said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading what you all have to say


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