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Thursday, June 15, 2006

Caterpillar Crypticism

Corn earworms (Helicoverpa zea) are all over the geraniums right now. So, in an attempt to make themselves less noticeable among all the droppings and chew holes, they assume poses that mimic the geranium plant parts. Some try to look like stems, others blend in with the undersides of leaves; this one is doing its impression of a flower bud.

A major predator of these caterpillar is the golden polistes wasp. There are a lot of them flying now; but they don't seem to have discovered this patch of caterpillar infested geraniums yet. Or maybe the wasps are just completely fooled by their prey's amazing cryptic abilities.

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