Subject: Camouflage Looper?
Location: Tulsa, Oklahoma
August 25, 2016 10:43 pm
Hi — Love your site — thanks for all your work. I found this little guy while I was taking photos at a pond near Tulsa, OK, a few weeks ago. At first I couldn’t figure out what it was because it was in the pink tufts of the flower. But then, I used a blade of grass to coax it out on to a leaf. Once it stretched out, I could see it was an inchworm. I’d never seen one like this before!!
Do you know if the “camouflage” bits get stuck on passively as the inchworm crawls around, or does the worm actively attach them?
Thanks for the compliment and thanks for sending in your awesome images of a Camouflaged Looper, Synchlora aerata, or another member of the genus. According to BugGuide: “Caterpillar adorns its body with plant fragments, usually flower petals, to camouflage it as it feeds. It is the only widespread species to do so(2), but from Maryland southwards other Synchlora spp. are also present and only raising to adulthood can yield a definite caterpillar ID.” We suspect the caterpillar uses silk to attach the flower bits to its body.