“Spikey Saddleback Surprise” (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)
The saddleback caterpillar, Sibine stimulea, as seen in my photos herein, is a formidable foe to birds and other predators. This caterpillar is found in eastern North America, and belongs to the family of slug caterpillars.
With it’s green and brown coloration, the saddleback caterpillar blends in with tree bark and foliage, camouflaging itself. A circular brown spot on it’s back gives it the name, “saddleback.” Circular white-colored spots may serve to scare away possible attackers.
Arguably, the saddleback caterpillar’s greatest assets are it’s horns on which protrude urticating hairs. These hairs are more akin to needle-like spikes that secrete poison that can cause irritation and pain.
I have never touched a saddleback caterpillar, and I don’t suggest for anyone to do so. These caterpillars are really beautiful and interesting to view, though I wouldn’t want one to mistake me for a predator, stinging me with poisonous venom. They are better to leave alone, simply admiring their uniqueness and natural beauty!
Above, please enjoy viewing a photo of the female moth of this species!
Bugguide. http://bugguide.net/node/view/507. May 17, 2012.