What in the World? (Don’t touch if you see one of these)
by julie swanson
This caterpillar-like creature was crawling across our driveway yesterday. It was about an inch long and the brightest fluorescent green. Doesn’t it look like it’s wearing some sort of fringed horse blanket? Never in my life have I seen anything like this. I had to laugh.
Talk about creative! God has such a sense of humor, and such flare.
I didn’t dare touch the little burr-like things or pick it up. One time when our oldest was about three, we found a caterpillar that was brightly colored and covered with these spiny black hairs. She asked me to pick it up for her and put it in her hand, and when I did, she started screaming and said it had stung her. Her palm hurt for quiet a while afterwards. Admire but do not touch hairy caterpillars was the lesson we took away.
I searched for this beauty on google and found an image that matched it (go to this link for Caterpillars that belong in Outer Space: the 15 Most Alien Looking Caterpillars on Earth, http://www.socialphy.com/posts/pets-animals/9418/Caterpillars-that-belong-in-Outer-Space.html) but under the picture of the caterpillar that matches the above, it said it’s a native of the Phillipines.
“Butterflies and moths are at their most vulnerable stage as caterpillars because they can’t just fly away and escape. Therefore, they have developed some interesting, one might even say bizarre, defenses. These include blending in with the environment, false faces with bright eye spots, mimicking other insects, and bright colouring that warns potential predators not only that they taste bad but could also be poisonous.
This green alien is a native of the Philippines and seems to have taken the fake eye spots to an extreme, making its “face” quite large and scary. Normally, a caterpillar’s face is much smaller and not on the second abdominal segment.”
On another site with a picture that matched (http://www.gityasome.com/blog/tag/green-and-brown-caterpillar), it says it’s called a Saddleback Caterpillar (so I guess my thinking the green looked like a horse blanket wasn’t so far off), and that it can be found from Massachussets to Mexico, and that if you touch it, it has a poison sac at it base, and that if you brush up against it, it can produces ‘a multitude of stings’–pains that shoot from your hand or finger up your arm, and that burn like fire; “It was like someone had poured scalding hot water up my arm.”
Glad I didn’t touch it!