Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Hickory Horned Devil

In the Andorra Natural Area of the Wissahickon Park in Philadelphia, we came upon this frightful looking caterpillar, which I later learned is known as "Hickory Horned Devil," an apt name for its beastly appearance. But the appearance is a ruse designed to scare off potential predators; the spines are prickly but don't sting. This caterpillar was about 4.5 inches in length; some can reach 6 inches.

Hickory Horned Devil

This Hickory Horned Devil will soon pupate. When it emerges, it will be the Regal Moth, aka Royal Walnut Moth (Citheronia regalis), the largest moth north of Mexico, with a wing span up to 6.5 inches.

Hickory Horned Devil

Also in the "remarkable" category, is this Wandering Glider (Pantala flavescens, 1.9") which was patrolling the waters of our apartment building's swimming pool.  While basically a tropical species, it is found on every continent except Antarctica. It wanders long distances, is occasionally seen hundreds of miles at sea, and is present on tropical oceanic islands. Apparently, it finds the current tropical-type climate of Philadelphia to its liking.

Wandering Glider
Along the Wissahickon Creek we found Blue-fronted Dancers (Argia apicalis, 1.4") ...

Blue-fronted Dancer - male
Blue-fronted Dancer - female

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