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unknown caterpiller - Nematocampa resistaria

unknown caterpiller - Nematocampa resistaria
Cedar Hill State Park, Dallas County, Texas, USA
April 20, 2010
Size: 1/2 inch
This tiny mite posed rigidly when disturbed, its plumes spreading laterally back and forth before motionless was achieved. Found in lush mixed woodlands near Dallas.

Moved from Filament Bearer.

Moved from ID Request.

Outrageous! I wonder if this serves to look like a fungus victim, terrifying any curious Tachinids that venture near.

yes, very impressive -- thanks for sharing, Matthew

I had a lot of fun with this
I had a lot of fun with this fellow. It stayed mostly at attention and didn't lengthen or shorten its filaments for me. But it did have control of them, as it moved them sideways a lot. The picture doesn't do justice on how small it is.

Evidently, they're used
to startle (or confuse?) potential predators. According to the Guide, "when the caterpillar is alarmed these tentacles can be extended to 2x their resting length." There are neat "relaxed" and "extended" photos on the Info page for the species.

Wait for the experts, but
take a look at Nematocampa

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