While attending Mothapalooza the last couple of years I saw the work of Sam Jaffe of the Caterpillar Lab and became interested in trying to photograph these amazing creatures. As luck would have it a couple of weeks ago I was invited to attend a smaller satellite Caterpillar event put on by many of the same people who do Mothapalooza. during the two days of this event I learned a ton about the different caterpillars in the area and more importantly how to go out in the field and locate these fascinating beasts. I am going to start of with a post of the more beautiful and striking Caterpillars we saw during the two days of the event. One of my personal favorites is the very impressive Hickory-horned Devil (pictured above) these “Cats’ grow over five inches long.
Here is a very rare caterpillar, according to Jim McCormac Ohio State Naturalist Ret. “a Holy Grail species”. This is a Paddle Caterpillar so named for the paddle shaped setae running along its back.
From the beautiful to the bizarre this unusual Caterpillar is a type of slug caterpillar called a Saddleback. Having no feet Slug caterpillars move like, well… slugs, or snails. This 1 1/2 “cat” has an armor of stinging spines which inject a venom that can be quite irritating. (4 image focus stack)
Now here is the best part about this…! Many of these incredible little beasts are quietly munching away on the leaves very near to you right now. All you need to do is get outside and find them.
Good Luck and Good Light!