PSYCHEDELIA III (56)
|There are various psychedelic phenomena in the world: music, mushrooms, drugs etc. However, I believe that one can achieve a true psychedelic experience just observing nature, especially caterpillars... wouldn't you agree looking at these incredible creatures?|
When I saw them at noon of that incredibly hot day in pine savannah (a very interesting type of plant community - please see it in my workshop 1), when sweat was flooding my eyes, I was pretty sure it's just hallucination. And however I photographed them, it took me quite long time to identify this species...
Species: Composia fidelissima Herrich-Schäffer, 1866
English name: Faithful Beauty
It appeared to be a tropical moth with range including Central and South America to Uruguay, Cuba, Bahamas and Cayman islands. In North America it occurs only in extremely south Florida so I was quite lucky to find it. The larvae display gregarious behaviour and feed on Devil's Potato (Echites umbellata), a poisonous vine-like plant you'll find in my workshop 2.
And look in what a incredible moth it turns, I wish I could observe that as well....
The family to which the moth belongs - Arctiidae - is a large and diverse group of moths with around 11,000 species found all over the world, with 6000 Neotropical species. This family includes the groups commonly known as tiger moths (or tigers), which usually have bright colours, footmen (which are usually much drabber), lichen moths and wasp moths. Many species have 'hairy' caterpillars which are popularly known as woolly bears. The scientific name refers to the Greek word "arctos" meaning "a bear".
Many species retain distasteful or poisonous chemicals acquired from their host plants. Some species also have the ability to make their own defenses. Common defenses include: cardiac glycosides (or cardenolides), pyrrolizidine alkaloids, pyrazines and histamines. Larvae usually acquire these chemicals, and may retain them in the adult stage.
Of course the picture has technical flaws I'm aware of. I had some problems with autofocus (the creatures were small), wind, tired hands holding camera etc.
But anyway I think these caterpillars are so unique that it's worth sharing with you...