Caterpillars, a stunning photo subject
Most people don’t like caterpillars. The Dutch expression says they must be fought with “fire and sword” because they eat our plants. In general, it isn’t quite that bad. There are exceptions of course. If you’re trying to grow organic cabbage, you won’t be happy when the caterpillars of the cabbage moths decide they’ve found paradise. But to be fair, if you hate rain, just remember that there will be no flowers without rain. And if you love butterflies, the same applies. No caterpillars, no butterflies. And often caterpillars are quite attractive. The caterpillars of many moths, for example, are ever more beautiful than the moths they eventually become. Take for example the caterpillar of the gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar), with it’s crazy colors (see the photos above). Don’t ask me why the front points are blue, and the back ones are red, but it is fancy. Even a portrait of this caterpillar is fun, the black spots on his head reminds me of a sad clown. Those are not actually his eyes, the eyes are on the bottom and are very small. And the long hairs on little balls next to his head add to his eccentric photogenic qualities.
The caterpillar of the the spurge hawk-moth (Hyles euphorbiae) can be seen when you’re vacationing in the south of Europe. With it’s fantastic colors, it warns potential predators that he is deadly. He dines on the the highly poisonous spurge, and stores the poison in his body.
Below on the left, the caterpillar of the yellow swallow tail, a beautiful caterpillar that you can find in your own back yard. See also This Month February 2011
The caterpillar of the comma butterfly (Polygonia c-album) does it’s best to look like a bird’s leg, thus throwing off potential predators.