Wednesday, November 5, 2008

11-01-08 Mystery Caterpillar: Case mostly-closed

The Future Scientists found a cute little caterpillar along the forest trail.

It had a racing stripe, but it was very obviously not built for speed. What a faker.

The caterpillar was not identified in the field, so a picture was taken to document its existence. Human fingers are provided for scale.

The Discover Life team has created a cool, easy way to identify caterpillars on the web. Just plug in your main caterpillar features (i.e. body color, hairiness, astrological sign etc.) and find out who your scrunchy little bug friend is!

Plugging this little guy into the website, the best i.d. option turned out to be a type of tiger moth caterpillar Haploa clymene. The adult moth is quite strikingly beautiful (see images here). Young caterpillars of this species are found in the fall (hence the teeny size), and they will overwinter and mature in the early spring or early summer. The yellow racing stripe of the caterpillar is especially prominent in the fall, during the young stage. 

DISCLAIMER: The writer of this blog has is 90% confident about the i.d. of this caterpillar. If you have more enlightened information, please comment below!

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