Subject: Weirdest bug I’ve ever seen!
Location: Zebulon, NC
August 22, 2012 6:32 pm
This has to be the weirdest bug I’ve ever seen. There was more than one of them in my flower bed. I have so many different types of pollinators that at first I didn’t pay much attention to it. But upon closer inspection, I could see it was no ordinary bug.
I don’t know if it has some dead foliage on its back to act as camouflage, or if that’s its body, but the entire thing was moving on top of the flower. Can you help me out?
Signature: Melissa

Camouflaged Looper

Hi Melissa,
Though the camouflage element is obviously the dried petals of the flowers in your photo, the insect portion is not very visible in your otherwise lovely photograph.  We hope you have other angles of view to submit as well.  The most likely candidate is some type of caterpillar, probably a Camouflaged Looper,
Synchlora frondaria, but it is difficult to actually see the insect in your photo.  See some examples of photos of Camouflaged Loopers on BugGuide which states:  “A variable twig mimic. Larvae take on the colors of their host plant and employ decorative crypsis by attaching plant material to themselves.”   BugGuide also states:  “larval foodplants include sunflower, Bidens, Rudbeckia sp., and others” and the flower in your photograph is in the composite group that the Camouflaged Looper feeds upon.  The Camouflaged Looper will metamorphose into the Southern Emerald Moth.

That’s exactly what it is!  Thank you so much!  I’m attaching another photo I took this afternoon, from another angle.  I also got some video of it.  Fascinating creatures!

Camouflaged Looper

Thanks Melissa,
This image is a much better view of the insect known as the Camouflaged Looper.

Location: North Carolina

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