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Do *not* touch this caterpillar!

 
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rjlittlefield



Joined: 06 May 2005
Posts: 727
Location: Richland, WA, USA

PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2006 10:06 pm    Post subject: Do *not* touch this caterpillar! Reply with quote



This is a Sheep Moth caterpillar, Hemileuca hera. It is native to the sagebrush steppe of Eastern Washington and is one of the few animals that will actually eat Big Sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata).

Taxonomically speaking, these things belong to the Silkmoth family (Lepidoptera:Saturniidae). But you're not going to get any silk from these fellows -- they pupate underground just about the time things heat up for summer.

Besides which, I doubt that you'd much enjoy raising them. The spines are politely called "urticating", which is to say they sting like crazy on sensitive skin like the back of your hand. The welt lasts about a week for me, itching most of that time.

--Rik

Canon 300D, Sigma 105mm, flash.
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Ken Ramos
Site Admin


Joined: 04 May 2004
Posts: 4809
Location: Western North Carolina

PostPosted: Mon May 15, 2006 2:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kind of like our "packsaddles" Rik. A nice "sharp" image of the critter. Very Happy
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Reposts of my images within the galleries are welcome, as are constructive critical critiques.
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crocoite



Joined: 10 May 2006
Posts: 107
Location: Tasmania

PostPosted: Mon May 15, 2006 2:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We have some nasty ones in Australia too. I vividly remember ducking under a tree branch when I was mowing my lawn in Melbourne, Victoria, about 20 years ago, and having such welts all across my back (hot day, no shirt!). I don't think we have the same ones here in Tasmania, and back then, no digital cameras. Sad

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Steve
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MikeBinOKlahoma



Joined: 20 Nov 2004
Posts: 1491
Location: Umm....Could it be Oklahoma?

PostPosted: Mon May 15, 2006 3:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice details on a spectacular caterpillar!
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Mike Broderick
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"I must obey the inscrutable exhortations of my soul.....My mandate includes weird bugs."--Calvin

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rjlittlefield



Joined: 06 May 2005
Posts: 727
Location: Richland, WA, USA

PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2006 12:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MikeBinOKlahoma wrote:
Nice details on a spectacular caterpillar!

Mike, this picture would be really boring, except for the "detail" aspect. Those spines are sharp!

--Rik
Canon 300D, Olympus Zuiko 38mm bellows macro at f/2.8, stacked from the live caterpillar.

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