SITY: Not a Stick

I spent a lot of time in the yard on Sunday, just walking the perimeter and looking around. Though I’ve done this hundreds of times, I still always find things of interest. Here’s one of them.

This is a caterpillar, not a stick!

When I first saw this caterpillar, it was as straight and rigid as a stick. If it hadn’t moved when I brushed the host plant, I would never have known that it wasn’t part of the plant. Even after seeing it move, I had a hard time believing that it was a caterpillar. That’s why I chose this particular picture to show you. The markings on the body are convincingly plantlike, but it’s curved in a less sticklike way, and you can see where it’s grabbing the real branch.

When I searched for this caterpillar online, I found similar images labeled as “stick caterpillar spanworm.” It will develop into some kind of geometrid moth. Unfortunately, as is the case for most new caterpillars that I find around the yard, this thing is bad news. It’s a defoliator. As if we don’t have enough of those already!

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