CATERPILLAR OF THE WEEK: Introducing Tetracis crocallata - the Yellow Slant-Line.
From their earliest instars, or growth stages, this geometrid moth caterpillar resembles a brown twig, but they only gain the fantastic "broken-off branch" appearance, with pale tan highlights and swollen thoracic horns, after their final shed. They are so completely devoted to their cryptic defensive strategy that when picked up off their perches, they remain ridged and twig-like laying in your hand, absolutely refusing to concede their discovery. One wonders if they persist in their stubborn act even as they slide down the gullet of a bird.
A "The Caterpillar Lab" program just isn't complete without a display of one or another twig-mimicking species. There are so many fantastic ones to choose from, but each has its own take on what makes for the most convincing costume. Tetracis species are some of the very best we have encountered, and with their die-hard devotion to their guise we will make sure to rear these again next year!
"Caterpillar of the week" will highlight a different species we grow in "The Caterpillar Lab" each week. We hope you will enjoy meeting the caterpillars of New England!
More information on Tetracis crocallata on bugguide here:http://bugguide.net/node/view/37923