Caterpillar disguises as feather to escape hungry birds

EcuadorMegadiversoPublished: January 18, 2018Updated: January 19, 20182,700 views
Published: January 18, 2018Updated: January 19, 2018

This Caterpillar filmed near Mindo in Ecuador looks like a feather which presumably gives it an advantage in the struggle for survival since predators such as birds will not perceive it as food.

There are more than 3500 species of butterflies and some 10000 of moths in Ecuador and their larvae have evolved different strategies to escape predators. Some hide in the vegetation due to camouflage coloration, others resemble a stick or moss or mimic bird droppings. Bagworms build cases out of silk and materials such as leafs, wood and soil as camouflage, such as this Pagoda bagworm:

Other caterpillars on the contrary are highly colorful (aposematic coloration) to warn potential predators that they are unpalatable or even toxic or have venomous spines. Some caterpillars expose fake eyes to deter predators, such as this snake mimic caterpillar from Ecuador:

But this is an exceptional case of a caterpillar disguised as a feather. It even makes steps back as it moves as if it was agitated by the wind!

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