This puss moth caterpillar is 'a very cute little monster'

August 26, 2014, 1 p.m.
puss moth caterpillar

Photo: James O'Neill /MNN Flickr Group

Don't say I didn't warn you

Puss moth (Cerura vinula) is a moth found in Europe and North Africa, the larvae of which have an interesting appearance especially when in defense mode. Photographer James O'Neill puts it like this: "A puss moth looks for all the world like a leaf on a branch. Until it is disturbed, that is. It then flicks its tails, exposes its bright red face, squirts formic acid, and is generally a little monster. A very cute little monster though." It is a great example of the elaborate lengths to which some critters will go to warn away potential predators, and quite a few caterpillars are well equipped with potent defenses.

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Jaymi Heimbuch is a writer and photographer at Mother Nature Network. Follow her on Google+, and Facebook.