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Nature is Amazing

September 21, 2016

The other day I noticed this odd caterpillar crawling around. Of course I took like 15 pictures with my iPhone for identifying later. Initially I thought I found a caterpillar with 4 parasitic wasp eggs on its back. img_0026

Now that I’ve identified it as a White-marked Tussock Moth Orgyia leucostigma, I know differently. The White-marked Tussock Moth has 4 white tufts on its back close to its head. This got me wondering…why does it have these tufts? are these tufts suppose to look like parasitic wasp eggs? is there a purpose to these tufts? With a little research, aka typing a question into Google, I found an article from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on the White-marked Tussock Moth. This article talks about a theory that the 4 white tufts are indeed mimicking the external cocoons of parasitic wasps. Other parasitic species see these white tufts as a sign that the caterpillar is “occupied” with a parasite and leave the caterpillar alone. This is a great form of deception. Nature is Amazing!

Article mentioned: https://www4.uwm.edu/fieldstation/naturalhistory/bugoftheweek/white-marked-tussock-moth.cfm

 

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