Nature uses many ways to deceive for many purposes. It might be to lure or an avoidance tactic. Mimicry is one way which is the close resemblance of plant or another animal. An example is the Viceroy butterfly mimicing a Monarch. Others go for camouflage.

So I saw this little critter crawling in the leaf litter. I knew I had seen this type before with its cilia (hairs) at the bottom edge. Indeed it reminds of a door brush sweep.

Putting it on a small branch to slow it down so I could get a shot. Black spots were on the belly.
Here it blended in to avoid detection!
Up close the hairs did not look as thick. Once home searching Wagner’s Owlet Caterpillars of Eastern North America, I found a close match, the Barrens Underwing (Catocala jair). Wagner says it does like shrubby oaks like blackjack, scrub and turkey. Neither BugGuide or iNat had photos of the cats.
Checking the head shot Wagner has (p102) I thought it looked good for a match for the aforementioned species. However if you have copy of Wagner’s book you know how many of the head shots look very similar. So my ID is tentative for now.

A partially green crab spider. Yep it was blending!

A longhorn beetle (Euderces pini) had me fooled momentarily as an ant mimic.
Now the Eastern Tent Caterpillar Moth (Malacosoma americana) does not camouflage its tent. No need, as it is tough. Furthermore I have never noticed anything ever raiding it.
Once they leave the tent, it is hard to spot them on the ground or a branch.

Another ant mimic spider, which I have tentatively ID’d as Florinda coccinea. It is in the Sheetweb and Dwarf Spiders (Linyphiidae). Indeed it was tiny at under 4mm.

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Keep looking!

The more you know, the more you see and the more you see, the more you know


  1. Love the stork story but can’t get the coral snake story. And wow can that caterpillar disappear on that twig.

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