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Papilio machaon - caterpillar #2

Posted by
Johan Dierckx (Wijnegem, Belgium) on 27 July 2010 in Animal & Insect and Portfolio.

The same species as yesterdays image. Today I show the entire caterpillar in close-up. So it is a good occasion to tell something about the caterpillar-anatomy:

Most caterpillars have tubular, segmented bodies. They have three pairs of true legs on the three thoracic segments (In this image the uppermost 3 legs). You also can see here four pairs of prolegs on the middle segments of the abdomen, and a single pair of prolegs on the last abdominal segment. There are ten abdominal segments.

Like all insects, caterpillars breathe through a series of small openings along the sides of their thorax and abdomen called spiracles. These branch into the body cavity into a network of tracheae. You can see these spiracles as little ovals in the middle of the black strikes on the side of every segment.

Caterpillars do not have good vision. They have a series of six tiny eyelets or 'stemmata' on each side of the lower portion of their head. These can probably form well focused, but poorly resolved images. Caterpillars move their heads from side to side probably as a means of judging distance of objects, particularly plants. They rely on their short antennae to help them locate food. The eyelets can be seen in the image in the black spot on the head.

Image: Lille (BE) - 21/07/2010

Canon EOS 400D 1/80 second F/8.0 ISO 200 150 mm

© Johan Dierckx

The photos on this site are copyrighted, which prohibits anyone to use them to sell, give away, use in email or newsgroups, use in a homepage or otherwise showing to the public without my explicit, prior, written permission. Please feel free to use the "contact"-button below to contact me with any questions.

All species are photographed in their natural habitat, without cutting or capturing them, and with maximal respect and the least possible disturbance to the environment.

(To see species in the same taxonomic rank (Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus), please use the tags provided with the image. The last tag is the Iso-code for the country where the image was taken. Image-date in DD/MM/YYYY format.)

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Julie from Le Cannet des Maures, France

Superbe photo qui nous offre de beaux détails sur les griffes, les ventouses et les couleurs de cette magnifique chenille d'un non moins magnnifique papillon

27 Jul 2010 6:23am

@Julie: Thank you very much for this kind comment, Julie. I agree on the "grandeur" of this species, both the caterpillar and the adult butterfly. I think in your living area there are lots of wonderfull butterflies ?

Florence from Paris, France

Impressive details indeed. What an interesting close-up. A very pedagogic shot.

27 Jul 2010 8:36am

@Florence: Thank you very much, Florence.

Demo from Villeneuve d, France

Very beautiful close up !!! thanks a lot for your description!!

27 Jul 2010 8:49am

@Demo: You're welcome. Glad you like it.

jpla from St Barthélémy d, France

Bravo ! Je te souhaite une agréable journée

27 Jul 2010 8:51am

@jpla: Thank you very much, JP.

kiwisa from North Shore, New Zealand

Stunning macro of this amazingly beautiful caterpillar. 5*****

27 Jul 2010 8:59am

@kiwisa: Thanks for the apreciation, Kiwisa.

k@ from Paris, France

Now that's a great clown in the Mother Nature circus show ! Excellent catch & light !

27 Jul 2010 10:00am

@k@: That is a lovely way to describe this caterpillar :-) Thank you very much, Karin.

chen from manila, Philippines

stunning macro, = )

27 Jul 2010 11:04am

@chen: Thank you very much, Chen.

Monique from Koh Samui, Thailand

Schitterende macro van dit kleurrijk rupsje! Ik maak vaak de fout dat ik op z'n achterkant zit te focussen met m'n camera en later kom ik er dan achter dat ik 't bij het verkeerde eind had ;)

27 Jul 2010 12:01pm

@Monique: Jipie, Monique is back in town... Hopelijk heb je een goede "rustperiode" achter de rug. Het is inderdaad niet steeds duidelijk wat de voor en achterkant van de rups is - op de foto van gisteren maakte ik daar al een allusie op ... De truc: maak een foto van de beide kanten - heb je minstens 1 goed :p

♏arleen from Netherlands

Prachtcompo en werkelijk prachtige haarscherpe details!

27 Jul 2010 12:11pm

@♏arleen: Dank je, Marleen. Het is een wondermooie rups en ik ben er zeker van dat als je ze kan vinden (in je tuin...?) je zeker de tijd voor zal nemen ze grondig op foto te zetten ... Ze laat je gewoon niet meer los :-)

aggie from Singapore, Singapore

Awesome macro ! What a good looking caterpillar !

27 Jul 2010 3:55pm

@aggie: Thank you very much for your visit and comment, Aggie. It's one of the brightest colored caterpillars I know...

Becky from los angeles, United States

oh! Gorgeous! Unbelievable really. Great image!! What a beauty.

27 Jul 2010 4:09pm

@Becky: Thank you, Becky. And indeed, this caterpillar is just so lovely...

Loner from Wörgl, Austria

Ein großartiges Foto dieser Schwalbenschwanz-Raupe. Die "Wilde Möhre" jetzt genauer zu beobachten, kann zur Zeit immer wieder eine solche Überraschung bringen. Das Foto ist schön - wie es bei dir sowieso üblich ist - gratuliere !

27 Jul 2010 5:16pm

@Loner: Thanks again for your compliments, Sonja. You are so right: it takes some time to explore different habitats to find the most lovely specimens and I mostly find some I never have seen before. Patience is the most preferred skill in nature-photography I think...

Mascha from Kootstertille, Netherlands

Fantastisch, deze rups hoop ik ook nog eens in levende lijfe te zien!!
Prachtige kleuren en details!!

27 Jul 2010 7:00pm

@Mascha: Je moet er een beetje geluk mee hebben ze te treffen. Ze is in ieder geval vrij opvallend en helemaal niet klein (net iets minder dik en lang dan je pink...). Zoek op schermbloemen - dat is hun waardplant :-) Eens je ze gezien hebt, vergeet je deze nooit meer ....

Curly from South Shields, United Kingdom

Your macro images are amazing, the detail and colours are quite stunning.

27 Jul 2010 7:24pm

@Curly: Thank you very much for your apreciation, Curly. I'm doing macro for quite some time now and still improving... It just needs lots of practice as with all kinds of photography. I'm very glad you like them.

marc battault from clermont ferrand, France

magnifique de details et de netteté ,splendide plan serré !
amitiés !

27 Jul 2010 8:36pm

@marc battault: Thanks again, Marc. Just a "clean" portret of the lady ;-)

Julie Brown from Indianapolis, United States

Beautiful close-up. You have the whole body in focus and on the same plane. Your backgrounds continue to impress me!

28 Jul 2010 2:49am

@Julie Brown: Thanks, Julie. I invested some time in this image :-)

Dutçh from Chicagoland, United States

Caterpillars amaze me. The colors, the fragility as well as the toughness, their long bodies so different from ours. Gorgeous capture Johan!

28 Jul 2010 5:02am

@Dutçh: Thanks, Kristen. I spent a lot of time in making this one. Worth the effort :)

Veronique from Sarrouilles, France

thanks so much for your explanation and this macro is amazing !!!!!! great details , fantastic

28 Jul 2010 8:22am

@Veronique: You're welcome. Next time you see a caterpillar you will probably look with different eyes :-)

Véro from Savoie, France

wonderful sharpness with that angle, I dare I could touch it !

29 Jul 2010 11:45am

@Véro: Thank you very much, Véro.

daniela scharnowski from Berlin, Germany

Sensational shot! and your description is well put too ;)
Caterpillars often take this kind of position that makes them look so very devotional, like deep in prayer - who knows? Maybe they are.

31 Jul 2010 10:00am

@daniela scharnowski: You haven't seen the position of the photographer for this one ;D (And NO I won't post that !)

Skyriani from Nelson, New Zealand

superlative macro!

1 Aug 2010 10:58am

@Skyriani: Thank you very much for this apreciation, Skryani.

Canon EOS 400D
1/80 second
ISO 200
150 mm