Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Have you seen...

Just when you think you’ve seen it all, been there, done that, outsmarted the tricks of camouflage and mimicry—along creeps another.
And gives new meaning to the term, “decorating with flowers.”

This little Synchlora caterpillar blends perfectly with the Queen Anne’s Lace from which he's feeding, and for good reason. He’s cut pieces of the flower around him and attached them to hooked bristles on his back! As those wither, he replaces them with fresh new ones—and continues to feed beneath his flowery disguise.

Unlike many other caterpillars who require a specific host plant, Synchlora caterpillars are able to feed from a variety of plants.
Picking and arranging flowers as they go.
Yellow, purple, orange or red.

Maybe you’ve seen them?
Or maybe not!

Synchlora sp. feeding on Queen Anne's Lace

"Have you seen...." is an effort to discover the unusual beauty in things not usually appreciated for their beauty.

There's more information about these intriguing creatures here.

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KGMom said...

Nina--how utterly fascinating! I have never heard of this behavior before.
It is wondrous how insects (and other creatures for that matter) use camouflage, but this is a new one to me.

Cicero Sings said...

You see/find the darnedest things! I've never seen the like ... very interesting.

Lynne said...

GASP! That is so neat! It humbled me to the wonder of the diversity of life on this planet.

nina said...

This little guy is so cool--I can see the tiny flowers he's chosen to wear, but I think he needs to update his wardrobe. They're beginning to look old and faded.
As funny as my exciting life may be, I haven't had so much fun with a find in a while! He's the greatest!

nina said...

I keep walking around inspecting my purples in the field--wouldn't that be a sight to find one decked out in something bright?!

Synchlora caterpillars become a small green wavy-lined moth.

Anonymous said...

Took some photos of Queen Anne's Lace flowers on the weekend. Inspired by yours. Got a nice shot of a monarch butterfly too. Just love all the little critters enjoying their world.

nina said...

Plantbuddy--I wonder if there would be more who'd join in--maybe I'll try a Mr. Linky arrangement for "Queen for a Day", and choose a day for all to go out and gather shots. What d'ya think?

NCmountainwoman said...

I visit this site to be entertained, inspired, and to learn something. Today's post did all three. I had no idea such clever camouflage existed. How interesting!

Pat - An Arkansas Stamper said...

""Have you seen...." is an effort to discover the unusual beauty in things not usually appreciated for their beauty."

Your efforts have certainly paid off! These photos (and information) are wonderful.

Rambling Woods said...

I have to go check out the the queens annes lace...Amazing. Michelle

KatDoc said...

Where DO you find these things? Too cool!!


bobbie said...

This is amazing. I've never seen anything like this one. (Or maybe I have.)

nina said...

Kathi--I just made a pass through my fields this morning and found 5 more, mostly favoring Queen Anne's but 2 on Boneset. Maybe I've got a white-preferenced batch?
Anyway...what I had thought so uncommon, I now see everywhere.
(If I look)

betchai said...

" "Have you seen...." is an effort to discover the unusual beauty in things not usually appreciated for their beauty."

I like this phrase very much, thanks for reminding us of the beauty around that a lot of times we fail to see.

Thanks also for the marvelous information you shared.

Your pictures are also very sharp and vivid, I like them all.

Susan Gets Native said...

How is that I find something really neat and unusual in my yard, and at the same time you are finding it in YOURS?
Isabelle found one of those in a Queen Anne's Lace and we puzzled over what it could be. All we knew was that it was a caterpillar dressed in florets.

You never cease to amaze, girl.

nina said...

Isabelle is a girl after my own heart. It's wonderful that, at her young age, she has the patience and attention to be so observant.
She may become a great scientist! (or at least understand so much more of the world around her)

Eli Manning said...

there is so much diversity on this planet. Its amazing.