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Spotting

Description:

Aquatic caterpillar

Habitat:

This caterpillar was swimming under the water in a pool of water 10 yards across and only a few inches deep.

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30 Comments (1–25)

Tom15
Tom15 7 years ago

Thanks Mark. I was taking pictures of birds and had to shoot this with my telephoto lens and this was the only picture that came out close to being in focus. Now I wish I'd gotten better pics.

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 7 years ago

Wow!! How did I miss this one. Truly fascinating.

Tom15
Tom15 7 years ago

Lauren, the water was very shallow and I can't say for sure its touching the surface, but that it might have been.

LaurenZarate
LaurenZarate 7 years ago

Really Tom? The tail end was touching the surface? Can't tell from the picture. That would explain a lot! And it definitely should be studied! Maybe your should share this with a Lepidopterist that might like to go to Guyana and have a look….

Tom15
Tom15 7 years ago

Good luck Sergio, I hope you find one!

Sergio Monteiro
Sergio Monteiro 7 years ago

A aquatic caterpillar? I LOVED IT !!! I have to find one !!!

Tom15
Tom15 7 years ago

Lauren that's interesting about the aquatic caterpillars from Hawaii. You might be right with the trapped air by the spiracles. Another thing that could be happening is its tail end is elevated and may be at the surface of the water. I wonder if it has a breathing tube like a waterscorpion (Nepidae).

LaurenZarate
LaurenZarate 7 years ago

Have you seen this 2010 finding for amphibious moth larvae in Hawaii? They can spend weeks or months under water and seem to absorb oxygen through the skin (and form silk cases and tethers). Yours looks much bigger and more like an Arctiid larva. Maybe it just stays under a few hours (or less?) by holding trapped air close to the spiracles. With all its pseudopods, it probably can hold on and walk about without ballast. It sure does need more study.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amphibious_...
http://articles.latimes.com/2010/mar/23/...

Tom15
Tom15 7 years ago

Doreen, there were 2 caterpillars in this pool of water and they were calmly walking around the bottom, looking like that was their natural environment. I observed them for 10 minutes and they could have easily crawled out of the water, but didn't.

doreen.chambers.14
doreen.chambers.14 7 years ago

Swim or drowing?

Tom15
Tom15 7 years ago

Kaern, this aquatic caterpillar was something I've never seen before, and hope someone could shed a little more light on.

KarenSaxton
KarenSaxton 7 years ago

I learned something today. Thanks!

Tom15
Tom15 8 years ago

Thanks Gilma, this looks like a tough one to ID, but folks here at PN have been amazing.

Just went into "My favorites" sorry you wonderful spotting does not have an ID yet... It so interesting. I am looking forward for a possible future ID from a PN member. Hope it happens in the near future.. : (

Tom15
Tom15 8 years ago

There wasn't any real interaction between the caterpillar and the tadpoles, except for the caterpillar inadvertently almost bumping into them.

Lots of questions, but we are all so curious..Do the tadpoles try to attack it, I mean eat it?

KarenL
KarenL 8 years ago

Fascinating!

Tom15
Tom15 8 years ago

Good question. The water wasn't very deep, and it probably doesn't have the ability to float.

LaurenZarate
LaurenZarate 8 years ago

What do they use for ballast to stay on the bottom or even get to the bottom?

Carol Milne
Carol Milne 8 years ago

Maybe the caterpillar thinks it is a tadpole. Very cool!

Tom15
Tom15 8 years ago

There were actually 2 of these caterpillars in the pool of water and they seemed to be walking around under the water going about their business.

LaurenZarate
LaurenZarate 8 years ago

Does it actually "swim" by wiggling or does it kind of walk on the bottom?

LaurenZarate
LaurenZarate 8 years ago

That is really neat! It must be able to hold air among all the hairs close to it's spiracles so it can stay under for a while.

Telse
Telse 8 years ago

Incredible. Who'd a thunk!
Learn something new everyday.
Are you sure it didn't fall in?

LeanneGardner
LeanneGardner 8 years ago

Wow! Now there's an interesting mix! Amazing!

Tom15
Spotted by
Tom15

Guyana

Spotted on Mar 17, 2012
Submitted on Jan 29, 2013

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