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Crazy Tentacled Caterpillar

Jeff Cremer of the Tambopata Research Center in the Peruvian Amazon (previously at Neatorama) tells us about a weird caterpillar with four appendages that resemble tentacles sticking from its abdomen. Entomologist Aaron Pomerantz noticed it when he yelled to his team members, which caused the caterpillar to unfurl its coiled tentacles. Because it reacted to noise, he made more noise. He ended up yelling at a caterpillar for an hour.

(YouTube link)

After a little research, I found that this caterpillar is in the moth family Geometridae and is in the genus Nematocampa. Also referred to as ‘horned-spanworms’ or ‘filament bearers’, these peculiar caterpillars can be found in North America and the Neotropics.

Read more about this caterpillar and possible reasons for its behavior at Rainforest Expeditions. Also check out their new Rainforest Journey educational program for kids.

(Image credit: Aaron Pomerantz. Video by Aaron Pomerantz and Steven Senisi.)


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