A Prominent Caterpillar

Top Photo: Black-spotted prominent caterpillar. Ranger Becca radioed me saying she had located a couple of caterpillars munching on a plant in our Into the Mist exhibit in Catch the Wind. I went out to see if I could identify the beasts. I knew right away the caterpillars were a species of prominent, they had tail-like projections on their posterior ends. Many of the prominents have these so-called tails which are actually modified anal prolegs. If you’re having trouble remembering,Read more

Datana in the Birch

It’s caterpillar time. Although you can see caterpillars munching and crawling about the landscape from March to October, now is the time when you’ll encounter more of them in both numbers of individuals and diversity of species. Daily, people approach me with smartphone images, or even live caterpillars in their hands, asking “what is this?” Sometimes I know what it is, other times I don’t. Fortunately, if I don’t immediately recognize what it is they hold in their hands or haveRead more

Looking Down

Sometimes, it pays to look down. There are many creatures going about their lives at ground level. So, while you’re not looking up at the trees or the skies for birds or at the flowers for butterflies and other nectaring insects, keep at least one eye down where you walk, the ground, you might see something interesting.     At first, I wasn’t quite sure what the caterpillar in the above photo was. I thought it might be one of theRead more