While working in the garden between rain showers yesterday, I took a quick break to check on some monarch caterpillars in my native flower garden. I quickly saw that all four of them were accounted for, but worriedly noted that they’re running out of time to pupate before the weather turns too cold. I decided to let nature take its course with the monarchs this time, rather than bringing them indoors to raise. I hope they make it.
But as always, I couldn’t resist taking a few more minutes to peruse the brown-eyed susans in search of more cool insects. And my gosh, I’m so glad I did!
Here’s what caught my eye — can you see it?
Notice something in the center of the flower? I admit, I had the advantage of seeing that it was moving. Here’s another closer view as it climbed up on top of the disc flowers in the center of the brown-eyed susan:
And one final closer crop before I tell you a bit about this fantastic creature:
Ever since I learned of the existence of this fabulous creature, I’ve been hoping to find one, so my smile was a mile wide when I realized I’d finally discovered one in my own yard. This is the camouflaged looper caterpillar, the larva of a beautiful green moth called the Wavy-lined Emerald (Synchlora aerata).
What’s so fascinating about this caterpillar is, as you can see, it attaches flower parts to itself as camouflage. Is that not absolutely brilliant?!
I mean, think about it…it has no arms or hands, so how does it accomplish this feat of subterfuge? I would imagine it chews off pieces of the flower, then secretes some sort of adhesive substance, and then rolls over onto the plant parts. But that’s total conjecture. What do you think?
I’m just glad nobody was around to see me grinning like a goofball alone in the back yard. 🙂
This is the moth that funny caterpillar will become — the Wavy-lined Emerald moth. I can’t wait to see that in my yard!