Sunday, July 05, 2009

Stinging Rose Caterpillar Moth (Parasa indetermina)

Common Name: Stinging Rose Caterpillar Moth

Scientific Name: Parasa indetermina

Hodges: #4699

Family: Limacodidae (Slug Caterpillar Moths)

Range: Eastern United States (New York to Florida, west to Missouri and Texas).

Caterpillar host species: Apple, dogwood, hickory, maples, oaks, poplars, and rose bushes.

Slug Caterpillars (from Auburn University ): Slug caterpillars bear little resemblance to the typical caterpillar. The head is hidden within the thorax; thoracic legs are reduced; and prolegs are modified to sucker-like lobes without crochets. Movement is slow, gliding, slug-like.

Similar Species: Smaller Parasa (Parasa chloris) Besides being a little larger, the forewing of P. indetermina is more rounded and has a dark patch midway in the brown terminal band.

Caterpillars: A Stinging Rose Caterpillar is one of the more gaudy examples of Aposematic coloration ((from apo- away, and sematic sign/meaning). It sends a clear signal that it should not be eaten -- or even handled, since the caterpillar's body is covered with stinging spines. The University of Arkansas has a great photo of the caterpillar and drawing of the spines.



Tom said...

Marvin- Very cool.


Pat - Arkansas said...

You post the "neatest" stuff, Marvin! :)

Steve B said...

Interesting post. I have never seen one like this.

MObugs said...

Nice shot Marvin, I've been trying to find these moths in the caterpillar form for several years. I keep hoping to get the chance to finally photograph one. The little moths are quite lovely.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

This appears to be a rather large moth. The scales make it appear furry. Nice shot.

Deb said...

Intriguing creature. Surprised that the green is Aposematic coloration. (Your post has me swirling poetry in my head, BTW. Danka.)

Marvin said...

Lisa: The moth is only about 5/8" long.

Deb: The aposematic coloration is particularly applicable to the caterpillar, which I'd love to find, but haven't -- yet.

AphotoAday said...

Oh, don't worry, Marvin -- I wouldn't think of picking one of those caterpillar up, much less eat it...

Louise said...

Pretty, but I would want to eat it anyway.