Bagworm Moth Caterpillar (22)
|While hiking a forest in search of things to photograph, I happened to walk up on this strange looking leaf which was suspended in mid air. |
Upon a closer look I could see it was hanging about five foot above the ground by a single silk thread. At first I didn't see it's inhabitant, which was a small caterpillar that was barely visible from it's opening on top. If you look close you can see the tiny silk thread at the top of the cocoon.
I searched my guide books and couldn't find it's identity, so I sent a photo of it to a local naturalist and found out it was the caterpillar of a Bagworm Moth.
Immediately after hatching these caterpillars start to build their nest. They continually add material to the front of their nest while leaving a hole in the back for their excreatment. They carry this naturally camouflaged home with them almost their entire life.
The female either leaves the cocoon for a very short time to mate or the male extends his abdomen into the case to mate with her. The female deposits her eggs in the case and then dies.
I will post a backside view in the WS.