Monday, September 29, 2008

Okay, just one more

I found not one, but two saddleback caterpillars (Acharia stimulea) munching happily on a dogwood sapling underneath the pear tree the other day. Is it not the most crazy looking caterpillar you've ever seen?

Back in the '80s, I would have so wanted a pair of earrings in their likeness.
They turn into this moth, which I've never seen. Notice the weird little circle on the body of the moth. I wonder if it is left over from the "saddle" on the back of the 'pillar?
I felt a small triumph at spotting these guys. I felt primed to see them because I've been flipping through all the glossy pictures in my identification book, going, "Ooh, ahh," and "I'd like to see that one in real life!" The saddleback was one of the latter. I was fiddling with the hose out by the new trees one evening and happened to glance over and spot them. It was an example, I feel, of that maxim by Louis Pasteur: "In the field of observation, chance favors a prepared mind."
So, I am prepared to spot caterpillars. Woo hoo!

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