Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Sound of Caterpillar Footsteps - White Marked Tussock Moth - Beauty and Danger!

I captured the sound of the footsteps of this caterpillar's six big feet doing the double-time down a deck railing (from 00:10 to 00:30) - despite a loud leaf blower in the distance. A fascinating creature, and one of the more bizarre caterpillars in nature - the larvae of the White-Marked Tussock Moth is a combination of stunning beauty and obvious danger and knows how to struts its stuff. With a "toothbrush" on its back, cactus-like needles all over and red warning lights front and rear this caterpillar is shouting out - danger!  "don't touch me". A skin irritation and sometimes a severe allergic reaction can occur when contacting the sharp spines (seta) which are said to have a feel like rubbing raw fiberglass threads like insulation on your skin - nice. Nevertheless, these are interesting creatures to hang with for a short time as they always seem to be in a hurry to get somewhere. The bright red bulbous head of this caterpillar reflected so much of the strong sunlight flooding the scene that it was difficult to get into focus. However, the harsh sunlight in the photo below really shows off the increibily long and sharp seta of this creature. This was the same caterpillar that spat out a wild grape in:

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White Marked Tussock Moth Caterpillar

Sound of Caterpillar Footsteps - White Marked Tussock Moth - Beauty and Danger!

White Marked Tussock Moth Caterpillar

The harsh sunlight highlights the seta or needle like spines on this caterpillar which are some of the most fine and sharp in the natural world!