Rappelling caterpillars?


by jtbell
Tags: caterpillars, rappelling
jtbell
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Mar22-12, 12:44 PM
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With the warm weather of the past couple of weeks, I've been frequently running into small caterpillars (about 1-2 cm long and about 2 mm in diameter) dangling from tree branches on long threads. I usually have to brush a few of them off my clothes after walking across campus, or between home and campus. On my way to lunch today, I snagged one of the threads on the visor of my cap, leaving the critter dangling in front of my eyes.

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Ryan_m_b
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Mar22-12, 12:47 PM
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Snap a pic next time you see one
turbo
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Mar22-12, 02:23 PM
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Lots of caterpillars start out tiny, but can spin silk to distribute themselves. That's probably how the tent caterpillars get around and colonize trees. Lately, we have had lots of tiny spiders floating around, but not the caterpillars (yet). With this year's super-mild winter, I might be doing a lot of pruning and burning this summer to get rid of them.

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Mar23-12, 02:20 PM
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Rappelling caterpillars?


Quote Quote by Ryan_m_b View Post
Snap a pic next time you see one
I didn't carry a camera with me while walking today, but I just noticed one sitting on my mouse. It must have fallen off my clothes. Or maybe it fell out of my beard. Here it is, thanks to my webcam:
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chemisttree
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Mar23-12, 02:43 PM
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I've got them all over my Red Oak trees as well. They jump off the tree and dangle from silk threads to avoid predators. There are many different species that do this.
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Apr2-12, 08:50 AM
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I'm not the only person around here who's noticed them. Today's daily campus announcements e-mail has the following at the top:

ANNOUNCER'S NOTE: This is a college. A place where people search for knowledge. That being the case, can someone -- anyone, really -- tell me what's up with those darn bushwacking inchworms that have launched an epic ambush campaign from the stately oaks of the C? Are they really going to undergo metamorphosis into moths or butterflies -- or are they making their way to the ear canals so they can eat our brains? Is is just a random act of nature or do they get together at night to plan their creepy little sorties? Are they just looking for food? Do they have teeny-tiny tattoos that say "WIGGLE FROM ABOVE" or "ITCHING TO CONQUER"? If you, too, are looking for answers, join HAIL -- Hal's Anti-Inchworm League -- today.


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