7.29.2005

Keeping an Eye on Things

Okay, so they aren't really eyes. But they make you think twice about what you're seeing, don't they? If you were a bird, you might think you were dealing with a snake instead of a fat and tasty insect. Since some snakes eat birds, you might think twice about attacking and fly off in search of less threatening prey.



Spicebush Swallowtail Caterpillar, Papilio troilus
When it feels threatened, this caterpillar tucks its head under making it look more like a snake than a caterpillar.


Here's the same caterpillar in a more relaxed position instead of its scary snake mode.



Io Moth, Automeris io
We cheated a little on this one. Io moths tend to sit with their wings closed so you don't see the "eyes" until the moth flashes them, making it difficult to get a picture. This was a very fresh moth so Mr. Swamp was able to push the forewings open ever-so gently, allowing me to snap a photo of the hindwings.



Eyed Click Beetle, Alaus oculatus
Had I touched this beetle, or if it had seen me coming, it would have pulled its legs in and tucked its antennae away making it look even more "dangerous" to a potential predator. Had I picked it up and placed it on its back it would have flexed its body with a loud click and launched itself a couple of inches into the air in order to right itself.

13 comments:

Floridacracker said...

I think the spicebush wins the prize for the "startle the predator" category. Click beetles have a bigger bag of tricks: the "click" and they seem to play dead when all else fails. Nice photos.

Wayne said...

The spicebush swallowtail caterpillar strikes me as a cartoon character.

I see things like this and my immediate response is always "Lies, all lies"!

Keith, RN said...

I think the spicebush swallowtail caterpillar IS a cartoon character!

Rurality said...

The eyes have it, LOL.

Very nice series.

We had a click beetle get trapped somehow in a seldom-used pot that was stored on top of a cabinet. It drove us crazy trying to figure out what the noise was and where it was coming from!

Mr. Bloggerific Himself said...

It's a wonder the "eyes" on the moth don't run and drop right off from perspiration in this heat in that lovely colored fur it's wearing.

thingfish23 said...

GREAT post.

username said...

The moth is lovely and the caterpillar is cute!

Anvilcloud said...

The caterpillar looks like a stuffed toy.

lené said...

That caterpillar is wild! Thanks for posting the moth version too. When I was on top of White Face Mountain in NY last month, there was an entomologist collecting click beetles with his daugther. I had the privelege of holding one. Thanks for reminding me. :)

SquirrleyMojo said...

so, is that it's butt?

Hick said...

What a wonderful series of pictures.

Jennifer said...

Clicked over to your blog by accident the other day. Am I ever glad I did. You have wonderful pictures. I'll enjoy reading about a different part of the country!

bennysmith said...

They are so lovable, the eyes are soooo cute! Thanks for sharing!