nanonaturalist: I drove four hours to see a c…

nanonaturalist:

I drove four hours to see a caterpillar. 

I had heard that Mother Neff State Park (which is halfway between Temple and Waco, TX) had cecropia moth caterpillars. These are the caterpillars of the largest native moth in North America (wingspans greater than 6 inches have been documented). And you know what you need to get a giant moth? A giant caterpillar. 

I only found one (hiding in the plum tree right outside the visitor’s center!), and a couple cocoons (bottom two photos), so it seems that I came just in time. Any later and this one would have been in a cocoon too. The fun part: the unripe plums in the tree were the same exact color and texture as the caterpillar (he felt like velvet!), so despite being enormous, they are very well camouflaged.

He was very shy. He kept pulling his little face into his rolls to hide. Everything about it was perfect. A highlight of my week, for sure. Even if I didn’t get home until 3 am!

June 10/11, 2017

Flashback to last year 😀