Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Fall Fashion Update

What's fashionable this fall? The caterpillars' daring wardrobes scream color and texture.

First on the cat walk is an American Dagger Moth caterpillar (Acronicta americana) sporting a long, luxurious cream colored coat punctuated by five dramatically long black spikes.
Its friend, however, has decided to go with a striking pure white look.

Next up we have the Black Swallowtail caterpillar (Papilio polyxenes) choosing smooth over hairy. The bold black is highlighted by a stunning graphic pattern in the ever-popular eco-green.

For a splash of color and drama, this black swallowtail caterpillar shows off its osmetrium, orange projections which are meant to scare off predators.

Sporting a colorful coat of yellow, black and reddish-orange is the White-marked Tussock Moth caterpillar (Orgyia leucostigma). The pom-pom tufts along the back create a soft puffy look.

In stark contrast, this Geometrid moth caterpillar prefers neutral grey to enhance its twigginess.

Representing the plus-size models is the 3.5 inch Polyphemus moth caterpillar (Antheraea polyphemus), a member of the silk moth family. The bright green skin is dotted by bold red and metallic silver spots. Vertical yellow lines highlight the accordion-like segments.

Our next model is the Isabella Tiger Moth caterpillar (Pyrrharctia isabella), affectionately known as the Woolly Bear. Just in time for Halloween, it dons a fuzzy black and orange coat.

Another caterpillar in the same family, the Giant Leopard Moth caterpillar (Ecpantheria scribonia), also showcases a thick woolly coat which opens to reveal brilliant flashes of red skin.

Model #9 is the Milkweed Tussock moth caterpillar (Euchaetes egle) attired in the casual tousled bristle-brush look.

Last, but definitely not least, the cheekiest outfit of all goes to the Brown hooded owlet moth caterpillar (Cucullia convexipennis) for its radical use of color and design. Hard to believe that this dazzling creature will pupate and emerge as a drab brown moth.


  1. Oh cecilia! wonderful! These are the photos that you showed me, and the I recognize the two caterpillars you and I fawned over on those walks. Now we have names. This is a great blog--thank you for sharing it. Great resource for information and excellent ideas. My son and I would love to be able to find a spotted salamander larva and keep it until it matures!

  2. ps: were these caterpillars all found in your yard?! amazing.

  3. Hi Simone! Thanks for stopping by. Yes, these are all caterpillars found either in our yard or in our immediate neighborhood. I started taking photos after we found a couple of different ones this summer and was curious to see how many different caterpillars I could find. I also was drawn to their different colors and skin coverings. So beautiful!

  4. Hey cecilia,I read about the catterpillars.That's really good imformation and pictures!

  5. Great pics! I found your blog on the Nature Blog Network (which I just joined). We also enjoy identifying the many caterpillars we find in our backyard and figure out what kind of striking (or not) butterfly or moth they morph into. Thanks for sharing! I also have a backyard nature blog for New England at

  6. Lovely caterpillar collection,great looking images.

  7. Hi JR and Sue! Glad to have you aboard.

  8. What a blog. I love your wit! The pictures are great. I doubt I have that many different kinds in my yard. It will be fun looking though.