Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Sibine stimulea, Saddleback caterpillar.....Amanda again finds one the hard way. The consolation is that it is heavily parsitized by brachnoid wasps

If it feels like stinging nettles only it hurts more and it doesn't go away in a minute or two, you've likely encountered a Saddleback Caterpillar, Sibine stimulea. Grotesquely beautiful they are nevertheless, a nasty piece of work; their urticating hairs  (hollow with a poison sac at their base) can cause painful stinging irritation tht can go on for some time.

Amanda found one last year the hard way, that one unparasitized. It shows they typical patterned coloration that is covered by the wasp cocoons in the specimen above. It is suggested that the wasps use the stinging abilities of the Saddleback to protect the developing larvae. Makes sense to me!

Many of the curiosities that I see, and sometimes photograph, are courtesy of the sharp eyes of other staff at the Arboretum. I very much appreciate it and feel bad when their discoveries are the result of a painful interaction with something!

1 comment:

deborah said...

Oh my, I know that hurt!
A beautiful rose mallow-would you know the color?