Gelatinous Caterpillars

Jewel Caterpillar

Friday’s (semi regularly) I try to post interesting non-Gloomth related things or personal photo essays. Today we have a weird animal! At first glance this creature looks like it belongs in the deep sea, undulating along the seafloor with the nudibranchs and sea slugs- it is actually a caterpillar!

This is the Acraga coa caterpillar, the larvae of a fuzzy orange moth native to Mexico, Belize, and parts of South America. It’s part of the “Dalceridae” family of caterpillars which all share similar gelatinous, bumpy appearances.

Image result for Dalceridae

Often referred to as “jewel caterpillars” these lumpy fellows. Unlike other types of caterpillars they aren’t poisonous or able to bite predators, however their gooey spines are easily dislodged which is a way for them to escape the clutches of predators and wriggle away. Their sticky coating also deters insect predators from attacking them, I guess bugs don’t want to get sticky hands from their meals. 😉

The adult version of these larvae is a bright orange fuzzy moth that resembles a Halloween plus toy that’s come alive.

Image result for Acraga coa

Insects are fascinating and diverse. Remembering the world is far weirder than it seems on the surface definitely inspires me to explore around me more often.

-T

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There’s a bit more info on this species at the links below:

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/the-biology-of-the-translucent-jewel-caterpillar-the-nudibranch-of-the-forest/

My favorite youtube channel- https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJv1HFstDTEymXbFfVkVR9g

https://www.projectnoah.org/spottings/10258111

-Tae

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