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Late Instar Stinging Nettle Slug Caterpillar of a Cup Moth

Limacodidae, Lepidoptera


For me, photographing insects in this part of the world is full of "WHAT THE **** !!" moments. Trust me when I tell you I said it out loud several times over when I found this creation. These caterpillars are custom built with every conceivable self-protection device imaginable. Bright, garish colors which are like danger signs in nature saying "I taste awful" or "I am loaded with poison; multiple stinging barbs which inflict painful and persistent burning rashes (on humans anyway); false eyes pointing in every direction to say " I see you, you can't surprise me"; a head end that looks the same as the rear end so there can be no potential surprise attack from behind; and specific to the Limacodid caterpillars (who actually have no true legs, hence the slug in their name), a sticky adhesive underside that makes them very difficult to prise off their food plant. With that in mind, stinging nettle caterpillars are often not hard to find. They don't conceal themselves day or night and will often be in the most conspicuous of locations. Basically, they have little to fear.

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Wild Things
Wild Things 8 years ago

Thanks for sharing this amazing caterpillar and the description! I have been stung by the sharp barbs of a different caterpillar and they can be really painful :-)

RiekoS 9 years ago

Me "Wow" too! Very nice.

Harsha Singh
Harsha Singh 9 years ago



Glen Marks
Glen Marks 9 years ago

beautiful colors!

AndreaLim 9 years ago

Your caterpillar definitely has the WOW factor. Good spotting!

SuzannaSetiawaty 9 years ago

wonderful color and pattern

rivu.ghorai 9 years ago

wow!!! what a beautiful caterpillar!!

Maria dB
Maria dB 9 years ago

Wow is right!

MayraSpringmann 9 years ago

Wow! Thaís is fascinating!!!!

MariaPomsaharova 9 years ago

amazing. really beautiful.

KarenL 9 years ago

Wow indeed! Very cool caterpillar.

NuwanChathuranga 9 years ago

Wow!!! Amazing!

AdamBT 9 years ago

Fantastic spotting, congrats!!

Carol Snow Milne 2
Carol Snow Milne 2 9 years ago

I could say wonderful, fantastic, amazing, incredible, but none of those words will do. How about WOW! I love it!

LeanneGardner 9 years ago

Spectacular caterpillar!

Sinobug 9 years ago
Elsa 9 years ago

That is ridiculously cool looking. Definitely some pretty strong 'I warn you, I wouldn't eat me if I were you' messaging going on.

bayucca 9 years ago

Reminds me of Setora nitens, which is common and looks usually more yellowish/greenish.

Spotted by

普洱市, 云南, Paracel Islands

Spotted on May 23, 2012
Submitted on Feb 28, 2013

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