CATERPILLAR OF THE WEEK: The aptly named Monkey Slug Caterpillar - Phobetron pithecium.
With no legs to speak of, a dozen waving tentacles, a thick mat of hair, and ample sharp spines, there really is nothing else quite like a Monkey Slug. This is one of over a dozen species of legless slug caterpillars native here in New England each fall. They are one of our favorite groups to display, because they challenge peoples preconceptions of what a caterpillar is or can be. We agree, it can be hard to understand the slug caterpillars as lepidopterans... but in the end they all grow up to be moths.
What is this bizarre creature trying to look like? How does it gain protection by looking like a... well whatever it looks like! Please post and tell us what you see when you look at a Monkey Slug.
- Sam Jaffe
"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 Phobetron pithecium on bugguide here: http://bugguide.net/node/view/452