Thread: Tribbles???
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Old 09-21-2017, 02:01 PM   #1
A Bee's Best Friend
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Chicago Illinois USA
Default Tribbles???

Arizona Flannel Moth...

This is the best thing... Just the very best thing ever.
These Arizona flannel caterpillars, Megalopyge bissesa, also known as asps or puss caterpillars, are just about the most delightful little creatures I have had the pleasure to work with. So what that they are venomous, and have one of the most intense and painful stings of any caterpillar in North America? I can easily forgive them this as they meander around with their curly orange mow-hawks and little felted dongles.
Flannel caterpillars of a number of species live throughout the Eastern and Southern United States and are quite diverse in the New World Tropics. Some of their claims-to-fame include being mimicked by a tropical bird hatchling in a rare example of a vertebrate mimicking an invertebrate, being featured in an original series Star Trek episode, and being a popular hair-piece in well-to-do circles. Don't be fooled by their fluffy cuddliness into moving in too close - they really are a caterpillar that is best not handled - but try to appreciate them for their sting as well. What other adorable, goofy, slow, and lurching animal can humble a grown human with just a brush against ones arm? Too often we let fear and occasional bad experiences with a creature cloud our view, these caterpillars are unique and something we should be proud to include as part of our natural heritage!
This group of little tribbles will soon build cocoons, pupate, and eventually, emerge as equally fluffy and charming moths (look them up!). Then maybe they will fly off back to their home planet...
Let's share these little monsters with the world.
Feeling... in love... at The Caterpillar Lab,
- Sam

The Caterpillar Lab | Native Insects through Art Science and Education
"Half Earth Quest" Edward O. Wilson
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