Crafty Caterpillar Puts Flowers on Back for Camouflage
The crafty little caterpillar above is known as a wavy-lined emerald moth or camouflaged looper (Synchlora aerata). It is a species of moth of the Geometridae family and can be found in most of North America. The wingspan is about 17 mm and adults are green with scalloped or wavy white transverse lines.
The larvae feed on a wide variety of plants, including the flower heads of composite flowers and other flowering plants, as well as shrubs and trees. Recorded food plants include: Aster, Rudbeckia, Liatris, Solidago, Artemisia, Achillea and Rubus species.
Wavy-lined emerald moths are well known for their camouflaging technique where they attach bits of the plant petals/tissue along their backs using silk. Depending on what plant they are feeding on, they may adorn all types of different coloured plants in hopes of avoiding detection. When the petals begin to wilt and discolour, they will discard their outdated camouflage and replace with a new ‘coat’.
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