Updated (07/02/2008) (10/15/2005) amazonian caterpillar
I spotted this beautiful caterpillar during a trip to the Mamirauá reserve in the Amazon rainforest. I understand there are a few species that present this snake mimicking behavior, but I haven’t found the right match for this one yet. Can you help? Thanks and congratulations on your website.
Wow, your photo is awesome. Sadly we can’t identify this amazing mimic. Please update us if you ever identify it.
I did some more research here and came across an amazing book on camouflage, mimetism and the like by Roger Caillois. The book’s name is Medusa and Company. He describes four species with similar behavior, of these only one lives in the Amazon, and the position this one adopts surely fits the description. The name is Leucorampha Ornatus (or ornata). I could only find a few pages on the web referring to this species, all in french or italian.
all the best
Snake Mimic- 10/15/2005 Amazonian caterpillar
I’ve been researching bugs for my library’s summer reading program, and your website has been very interesting to me! I’ve enjoyed seeing all the wonderful photos and even identifying some of the caterpillars in my area. I think I can identify the photo of the Amazonian caterpillar in fact, it is part of an upcoming story time! This looks like a Hemeroplanes triptolemus, which mimics a snake by rolling onto its back and “flaring” the area around the head to scare off would-be predators. There are several websites with good pictures of this caterpillar, as well as the moth it becomes (some type of Sphinx). Thanks for your wonderful website!
Thanks for the information. We checked and found images of the caterpillar and moth on Bill Oehlke’s excellent website. We beleive you are correct. The photo submitted to us three years ago looks even more snakelike than the ones on Bill Oehlke’s site.
Request: February 23, 2010
Snake Caterpillar (Hemeroplanes Triptolemus)
I work for a UK television show on the BBC presented by Stephen Fry called QI. We were looking at including a question based on mimicry and in particualr were looking for a photo of the subject above. You have a great one on http://www.whatsthatbug.com/2005/10/13/snake-mimic-hemeroplanes-triptolemus-2/ Where it is puffing out it’s neck. Who originally took the photograph? And would it be possible to put us in touch with wherever it came from?
Alas James, we do not keep contact information for submissions to our website. We cannot contact Pablo from Mexico City.