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Calliteara pudibunda - caterpillar

Posted by
Johan Dierckx (Wijnegem, Belgium) on 4 November 2010 in Animal & Insect and Portfolio.

A short intermezzo in the fungi-series because sometimes while searching for mushrooms there are some unexpected encounters like this caterpillar of the Calliteara pudibunda (Meriansborstel (BE) / Pale Tussock (EN) / Buchen-Streckfuß (DE) / Orgyie pudibonde (FR)), a moth in the Lymantriidae family.

The caterpillars of the Pale Tussock are rather distinctive. Pale to bright yellow or greenish yellow in colour, and up to 40mm long when fully grown, these caterpillars possess sometimes quite thickly tufted hair projecting from the sides and top of their body, with a longer red-orange horn-like structure at the tail end of the body. Black bands separate the yellow segments of the body and get progressively thinner from head to tail. These black bands become more obvious if the caterpillar curls up. Overall, this conspicuous appearance is a clear indication to predators that the caterpillars should not be eaten!

Image: Malle (BE) - 03/10/2010

Canon EOS 400D 1/15 second F/8.0 ISO 200 150 mm

© Johan Dierckx

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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.

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dang from Atlanta, United States

Up close, and personal. Not a species I'm familiar with, thanks!

4 Nov 2010 6:18am

@dang: Hi, Tom, glad to see you again :-). Thanks for your comment. The caterpillar is just much more beautiful than the actual moth ... :-)

Loretta from Pretoria, South Africa

Lovely macro detail!

4 Nov 2010 6:19am

@Loretta: I'm very glad you like this one, Loretta. Thanks for your comment.

Christine from Duns, United Kingdom

Wow, beautiful caterpillar, fantastic macro

4 Nov 2010 8:00am

@Christine: The colors and structures in this caterpillar are just wonderfull. Nature is so full of surprises ... Glad you enjoy. Have a nice day !

Marleen from Doesburg, Netherlands

Een beauty van een rups èn foto!

4 Nov 2010 9:56am

@Marleen: Waarvoor weer van harte dank, Marleen. Maak er fijne dagen van !

carla from leeuwarden, Netherlands

Heel bijzonder in beeld gebracht.

4 Nov 2010 10:03am

@carla: De rups kroop van hier naar daar en een frontale of zijdelingse foto was zo goed als ondoenbaar. Vandaar de beeldhoek van driekwart bovenaan - zo kon ik de rups tijdens de beweging volgen. Bedankt voor je commentaar. Groetjes.

Loner from Wörgl, Austria

Eine bizarre und schöne Raupe ! Hast du da auch eine ganze Ansicht ?

4 Nov 2010 7:54pm

@Loner: Off course I have the whole caterpillar in several images. I nearly always try to go from the entire to the detail. I chose for this image to display here on aminus because I just liked the combination of color and structure in this image. Greetz !

zecarlos from Lisboa, Portugal

Amazing macro. Congrats.

4 Nov 2010 9:19pm

@zecarlos: Thank you very much for your visit and your comment, Zecarlos.

Dutçh from Chicagoland, United States

I'm so surprised with the changing weather that you found this caterpillar. A lovely shot showing all the.. fuzziness of its body.

4 Nov 2010 10:01pm

@Dutçh: Apparently this species survives winter as a caterpillar so it is not unusual to find it in this time of the year. I even saw a few of them on the same trip - but never saw the actual moth... think I will go look for the moth in spring in the same area again.

Michael from Chester, United Kingdom

I'm afraid I will have to give you 5 stars for this exceptional image ;)

4 Nov 2010 10:57pm

@Michael: Thank you, Michael, I'm very happy with that - so don't be afraid - the caterpillar won't bite you :-)

myky from London, Canada

Amazing macro...incredible colours.

5 Nov 2010 3:10pm

@myky: It is an amazing caterpillar to see. Thanks for your comment again.

Marilla from Turku, Finland

This is even too macro to me... I'd like to see the whole caterpillar. Great shot anyway!

5 Nov 2010 6:31pm

@Marilla: Sometimes I just like to experiment with unusual viewing angles or showing unseen details. That is for me what makes macro-photography fascinating.

Julie Brown from Indianapolis, United States

This is a very interesting caterpillar. I like how you framed this too. Is the adult as colorful as the larvae? Johan, I am so behind on your images, but I will catch up when I get time!

10 Nov 2010 11:15am

Canon EOS 400D
1/15 second
ISO 200
150 mm