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Unnamed spotting

Description:

Found on the floor of the cloud forest at Santa Lucia Reserve. We're guessing it's a moth, but hoping someone might be able to give us a definitive answer...

1 Species ID Suggestions

Megalopyge opercularis, larva


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26 Comments (1–25)

Ali Hemati Pour
Ali Hemati Pour 8 years ago

Very Cool!

Carol Milne
Carol Milne 8 years ago

At first glance it looks like a bird's feather. This is too cool! Great find.

bayucca
bayucca 8 years ago

Megalopyge opercularis, trusted.
Look at this link:
http://eol.org/data_objects/15630544
I think you are safe with this ID.

SantaLuciaReserve
SantaLuciaReserve 9 years ago

Quick update. We're dropping the opercularis but keeping the Megalopygidae. Thanks to everyone who chipped in, we're happy to leave it as Megalopygidae Sp. and if someone want's to know the species name then we'll direct them to the library. Thanks again to all.

SantaLuciaReserve
SantaLuciaReserve 9 years ago

Thanks to both of you. We'll let you know as soon as we know...

MatthewKritzer
MatthewKritzer 9 years ago

Plates #5, #6, "Butterflies and Moths of Costa Rica", Chacon y Montero, 2007.

BrandonBlount
BrandonBlount 9 years ago

Newssantalucia, I have not been able to get any further with these, for some reason these caterpillars are not very well documented. I think you may be onto something here with this species. I am going to see if I can network with a few more people to find out if there is anyone that can nail this one down. If not, I think it might be a perfect species to catalog/document in it's various color forms and maybe even see if you can bring it in and possibly get it to go through it's cycle. Once it has emerged from the cocoon a better ID might be able to be made.

SantaLuciaReserve
SantaLuciaReserve 9 years ago

Brandon, did you get any further with this?

SantaLuciaReserve
SantaLuciaReserve 9 years ago

There's actually a few here that look similar. We've found an almost perfectly white one and a brownish one. All with the 'calamus'. When I can I promise to post the others...

BrandonBlount
BrandonBlount 9 years ago

Awesome!!! I am going to discuss the topic with several naturephile friends of mine here and see if we can nail down the exact species as well. I am very intrigued by nature and it's ability to mimic and adapt to the environments. Insects are especially interesting because they do this better and more often than any other living creature on the planet. Some insects are so well adapted to their environment that they are not found outside of extremely small ranges. Which is what leads me to believe that this species of moth/caterpillar is adapted to this range only, due to it's extremely unique camouflage. I can see how this would be looked over by most predators because it really looks like a shed feather, right down to the change in color on the head which looks like the "calamus" or hollow base of a feather.

SantaLuciaReserve
SantaLuciaReserve 9 years ago

Brandon Blunt! That's a lovely idea, I've no idea whether it's right or not. Maybe someone might like to write a thesis... There are certainly birds with very striking plumage here. You've just decided what we'll be talking about over dinner tonight

craigwilliams
craigwilliams 9 years ago

That's a very interesting idea Brandon.
i would be very hesitant to publish this id if there's any truth in the wiki description, which says the larval colour ranges 'from downy grayish-white to golden-brown to dark charcoal gray' It's probably worth going to a number of the experts on this, such as Blanca Huertas in the Lepidoptera section of the Natural History Museum.

http://www.nhm.ac.uk/research-curation/s...

I'm sure they'd be thrilled to see your photos (inc. the processionary caterpillars)

BrandonBlount
BrandonBlount 9 years ago

I have been searching the net for about an hour now and cannot find anything close to this with the exception of a white feather caterpillar. The most striking thing about this caterpillar is how it resembles a Parrot Feather. I am curious to know whether or not there are birds in the area with this color plumage, and if this is a direct adaptation to the environment? It's a rather cunning and clever disguise.

SantaLuciaReserve
SantaLuciaReserve 9 years ago

Brilliant. Thanks everyone. Megalopyge opercularis it is. Matt keeps getting these shots-he's not fiddling with the pictures, there's just some very lurid creatures here. Great work Matthew, Craig and Peter. We'll put it in the book...

Hema
Hema 9 years ago

http://www.carolinanature.com/pix/ecuado...
I found a somewhat similar colored moth caterpillar on this link. Last image on page.
Do not know if it is related.

craigwilliams
craigwilliams 9 years ago

Amazing. A walking punk mohican! It's a very lurid colour compared with all the images of Megalopyge opercularis larvae on the net.

peter
peter 9 years ago

If Matthew and I are right, this little guy is probably pretty venomous.

MatthewKritzer
MatthewKritzer 9 years ago

A type of Megalopyge larva, similar to a albicollis...

BrandonBlount
BrandonBlount 9 years ago

I am completely lost as to what species this is. Awesome spotting!!!!

peter
peter 9 years ago

A type of Flannel Moth (Megalopygidae)?

SantaLuciaReserve
SantaLuciaReserve 9 years ago

Still stumped. Anyone?

SantaLuciaReserve
SantaLuciaReserve 9 years ago

Hey Karen. Yeah, amazing photo. Apparently a couple of these have turned up in the past.

KarenL
KarenL 9 years ago

Amazing!

SantaLuciaReserve
SantaLuciaReserve 9 years ago

Still after some help here, too...

SantaLuciaReserve
SantaLuciaReserve 9 years ago

Hi Alice,
Yep, got us foxed. I'm sure someone will know...

SantaLuciaReserve
Spotted by
SantaLuciaReserve

Nanegal, Provincia de Pichincha, Ecuador

Spotted on Aug 8, 2011
Submitted on Oct 15, 2011

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