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Unnamed spotting

Description:

Chain of catterpillars seen in the cloud forest reserve at Santa Lucia by our Camera Trap Man, Matt. We are a little stumped. They all turned and looked up at him, en masse, when he crouched to take a photo.

Habitat:

On the forest floor, near a trail, in a cloud forest.

1 Species ID Suggestions

procesionaria del pino
Thaumetopoea pityocampa Thaumetopoea pityocampa


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42 Comments (1–25)

tashu.vet
tashu.vet 8 years ago

That is just amazing!

YukoChartraw
YukoChartraw 8 years ago

Incredible!

KarenL
KarenL 9 years ago

Hi SantaLuciaReserva! Now that Marta has taken the time to identify this for you please can you add the common & scientific names in edit so this can come off of the unidentified list. Thanks!

SantaLuciaReserve
SantaLuciaReserve 9 years ago

OK. I've finally found and added some close-ups of the catterpillars. Maybe that will help.

SantaLuciaReserve
SantaLuciaReserve 9 years ago

Another quick update, These, along with our Megalopygidae Sp. are being assigned to an intern coming in the new year. We should have a half decent catalogue soon. Thanks for the help everybody.

Bags
Bags 9 years ago

Incredible photo. I'm leaning towards Thaumetopoea pityocampa too. Odd place to see them though.

SantaLuciaReserve
SantaLuciaReserve 9 years ago

Thanks Heather and mustache! Matt's pretty pleased with it

windmustache
windmustache 9 years ago

Wow!!

HeatherMiller
HeatherMiller 9 years ago

Amazing behavior and photograph.

SantaLuciaReserve
SantaLuciaReserve 9 years ago

Still trawling around for the other pictures of these. Love being in the office.

Scott Frazier
Scott Frazier 9 years ago

:-)

SantaLuciaReserve
SantaLuciaReserve 9 years ago

Found another picture of these. I'll pop it up when my connection inproves. One of the downsides of having an office in a cloud forest....

SantaLuciaReserve
SantaLuciaReserve 9 years ago

Yep, I sort of hope it rumbles on. Managed to get a couple more pictures of animals from the reserve this weekend. Putting them up now.

Mostly Microbe
Mostly Microbe 9 years ago

Love the picture and the surrounding mystery!

SantaLuciaReserve
SantaLuciaReserve 9 years ago

More useful information? Pancho, our reserve manager has been seeing these for at least 10 years, but at different times of the year and times of the day.

SantaLuciaReserve
SantaLuciaReserve 9 years ago

Yep, we're a cooperatively owned cloud forest in Pichincha, Ecuador. I hope I'm allowed to put this up... www.santaluciaecuador.com . We're in the process of building a field station at our lodge to accommodate more researchers and as a classroom to teach the local children. I'll keep putting some of our stranger photos up. It's the catterpillars that always seem to be the most ridiculous though.

craigwilliams
craigwilliams 9 years ago

They'll do this if they need to forage for more food. If their nest's is in a big Oak, I doubt if they ever need to come down to ground level as they might in the wild in the Med. regions they're native to. It's a shame they couldn't be followed to their new destination. At least then you'd have an idea what they're feeding on. Are you doing moth trapping out there too? Perhaps you'll trap an adult before too long.....

The forest out there sounds mind blowing. I would so love to work somewhere like that!

KarenL
KarenL 9 years ago

Amazing!

textless
textless 9 years ago

Wonderful photo!

SantaLuciaReserve
SantaLuciaReserve 9 years ago

Difficult to answer that. Cecropia, Ficus Sp. and other tropical hardwoods but we've had 299 species of tree/Ha. recorded on the western slopes of Ecuador, nearly the world record, so that's tough to answer. do the invasive catterpillars in London behave like this? There's a good few Sp. that display this behaviour and a lot of them seem to have been introduced all over the place.

craigwilliams
craigwilliams 9 years ago

Thaumetopoea processionea, the Oak Processionary Moth is busily causing havoc here in the London area. The terrible reactions people haveto the urticating hairs they shed has meant that a lot of Quercus are being sprayed to knock out the nests. The tragedy is, this knocks out any other Lepidoptera caterpillars. What are the dominant tree families and genera there?

SantaLuciaReserve
SantaLuciaReserve 9 years ago

That's a great lead, explains a lot too.

Scott Frazier
Scott Frazier 9 years ago

I don't know if it is Thaumetopoea sp. or not. It certainly resembles it! T. pityocampa (southern Europe, the Near East, and North Africa) is an invasive species (appears in the Global Species Invasive Database but South America not mentioned in entry http://issg.org/database/species/ecology...). Note however "Thaumetopoea wilkinsonii is an eastern Mediterranean form (race) of Thaumetopoea pityocampa, whose taxonomic status is in question. [... T. wilkinsonii has been] [i]ntroduced to North and South America, China and Australia." according to http://www.moa.gov.cy/moa/fd/fd.nsf/DMLh.... So ...maybe

SantaLuciaReserve
SantaLuciaReserve 9 years ago

Hey JungleLoveMamasita. Yep, amazing sight. I think the etherial light in the cloud forest helped with the photography.

JungleLoveMamasita
JungleLoveMamasita 9 years ago

This picture caught my eye, so unusual. I have never seen this behavior before. They look like they are glowing in the dark!?! Anyways, "Kewl" pic.

SantaLuciaReserve
Spotted by
SantaLuciaReserve

Ecuador

Spotted on Jul 14, 2009
Submitted on Oct 14, 2011

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