Saturday, August 22, 2009

BOTH SIDES NOW


A spot of bright shining yellow on the edge of the walkway caught my eye. I thought, This little guy is either very rash for venturing out in the open like that, or else he tastes very bad, and wants the world, his small but very dangerous world, to know it right up front. I snapped this photo, then eased him onto a leaf (he curled up immediately) moved him back among the plants. He wasn’t in any of my reference books, so I looked him up online—the search term “fuzzy yellow caterpillar” made him easy to find. Meet a very young Acronicta americana (one of the dagger moths). The other picture, below (from Wikimedia Commons) is what he will look like after his transformative nap. For a butterfly or moth, youth can be a time to wear all the crazy funky styles before turning into a sober responsible adult, like little Acronicta here. But there are also those that start out rather nondescript, and burst from their cocoons all decked out—like the sulphurs and the wood wood nymphs—proving it’s never too late to kick up your heels (all of them). Caterpillars are so like people.

9 comments:

SandyCarlson said...

He sure does change as he matures! Still, eating him must be a bit like eating a cotton ball for the eaters of moths and 'pillars out there. Lovely find, though.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Deb, He's cuter as a yellow caterpillar, isn't he???? Love that yellow color. We watch caterpillars carefully in the fall since they 'tell' us just how cold the winter will be. It they turn solid black, it will be a hard winter. A little black in the center means that only the middle of winter will be hard... I'm always hoping for a 'hard' winter here with SNOW. ha ha

Hugs,
Betsy

bobbie said...

He's a funky looking little guy. I'm glad you saved him from harm.

Cloudia said...

What a delightsul discovery and post!

Aloha-

Comfort Spiral

Adventures of an Innkeeper said...

Goodness, he looks like a tiny feather duster. How pretty. I have always enjoyed the "creepy crawleys" as my boys would call them when they were still very young.
I wonder which caterpillars Betsy from Tennessee is talking about, we have so many different kinds here, she wouldn't mean ANY and ALL caterpillars, would she?

Sylvia K said...

Isn't it wonderful, the things we find when we take the time to either look up or look down, instead of always straight ahead or worse, backwards? This is such a great find with a lovely lesson all it's own, if we choose to see it! Always a delight, Deborah!

Enjoy!

Sylvia

Dee said...

Very cool picture-he really is a little looker isn't he! I read somewhere that in some research study taught caterpillars some specific behavior and then after they morphed into moths they still remembered what they'd learned as caterpillars...the article talked about the fact that the entire caterpillar liquifies during the transformation so it was surprising this learned behavior was retained. Nature is something else!

Lin said...

amazing how cute caterpillars turn into plain moths.

Sue said...

ah the impetuousness (and color) of youth!