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Old 12-04-2012, 11:07 PM   #1
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Okay. I have decorator caterpillars and I have seen decorator crabs, but these guys take the cake. I swear they have legs and will crawl on my hand, but I can't see any real detail under all of the moss. Suunto, any ideas on what kind of insect they could be under all the moss/lichen they are covered in? There were three of them on the sap leak of my chestnut oak, on a warm day a few days ago (Dec). Size is a little under a centimeter.
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decorator insect on bark-moss-covered-decorator-insect-1.jpg   decorator insect on bark-moss-covered-decorator-insect-2.jpg  
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Old 12-05-2012, 12:24 AM   #2
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Could you maybe add more photos that could be clicked on and made a little bit bigger if you have them?
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Old 12-05-2012, 09:29 AM   #3
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I sent this one in from Florida last year, I know suunto ID'd it
decorator insect on bark-image.jpg

We could have a thread for decorator bugs!
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Old 12-05-2012, 12:44 PM   #4
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sage, yours looks like the same kind as mine. I like the idea of a thread for decorator bugs. Are there enough different kinds for a thread? I know caddis fly larva decorate themselves.

'Lib, unfortunately, those two are the best I got. The critters fell into the leaf litter when I tried to get my camera closer for a good macro. They looked like little moss balls - other than legs, I couldn't see any insect parts at all!
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Old 12-05-2012, 01:08 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by turttle View Post
Okay. I have decorator caterpillars and I have seen decorator crabs, but these guys take the cake. I swear they have legs and will crawl on my hand, but I can't see any real detail under all of the moss. Suunto, any ideas on what kind of insect they could be under all the moss/lichen they are covered in? There were three of them on the sap leak of my chestnut oak, on a warm day a few days ago (Dec). Size is a little under a centimeter.
If these are the same as what Sage had earlier, they would be larvae of lacewings (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae and Hemerobiidae) known as 'trash bugs' - see Green Lacewing larva - With adorned debris | Flickr - Photo Sharing! for an example.
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Old 12-05-2012, 01:23 PM   #6
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Thanks, suunto! I don't know what they are eating, this late in the season, but that looks like what they are. It says they over winter as pupae, which makes sense. I am glad I have them - voracious aphid predators. Yay!
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Old 12-05-2012, 05:57 PM   #7
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I found mine on the railing along a boardwalk trail in south Florida. Wondering, if you see one or two, shouldn't there be many more not to far away?
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Old 12-06-2012, 08:00 AM   #8
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Wondering, if you see one or two, shouldn't there be many more not to far away?
I would think that this would depend somewhat on prey density - many predatory insects such these tend to be non-discriminatory in meal selection, and if there is a scarcity of prey, may dine on each other...
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Old 12-06-2012, 08:51 AM   #9
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Kind of like baby mantises? Or baby toads? I know toads do, since I had a bunch in a tank once, raised from tadpoles and ended up with a few very large happy ones from a bunch of tiny ones. There are advantages to being the first to emerge!

Suunto, are there enough decorator insects to be worth starting a thread about them?
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Old 12-07-2012, 08:34 AM   #10
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Suunto, are there enough decorator insects to be worth starting a thread about them?
Good question, Turttle - I must admit that this is a subject that I have not researched thoroughly. Perhaps if you included those that naturally are cryptically configured?
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