john horstman

Limacodid Slug Caterpillar (Cup Moth, Limacodidae):  “Firecracker”
Photography and description by John Horstman (itchydogimages, SINOBUG)
Sharing / downloading enabled.

On March 27 I forwarded and posted here John Horstman’s request for assistance in identifying the above pictured critter. Apparently help arrived; here’s the result.

“Cup Moth larvae are often highly ornamented and brightly colored. Two main types can be distinguished: larvae armed with rows of protuberances bearing stinging spines called nettle caterpillars, or non-spined forms where the surface of the larvae may by completely smooth, called gelatin caterpillars (like this one). The larvae of this family bear no prolegs on their abdominal segments. The larva attaches itself to the substrate by means of an adhesive ventral surface. The movement is like a slug hence their generic name.

"A stinging slug caterpillar generally bears warning colouration and stinging hairs. These hairs can inject a venom from poison sacs carried at their base that are used as defensive weapons. Reactions can range from a mild itching to a very painful sting.

View my other images of Limacodid Caterpillars from China (Beijing and Yunnan).“
© All Rights Reserved by John Horstman

Read more …

You can check out a photo of a limacodid caterpillar in Wikipedia …

Calling on ‘Men In Black’
Photography by John Horstman / sharing enabled
Pu’er, Yunnan, China

Posted on Flickr March 27, 2014

The photographer writes:
I am going to need some help identifying this staggeringly odd insect. I have spent some fruitless hours online chasing some hunches but to no avail….

If it is Lepidopteran, then I would favour it being a Limacodid slug caterpillar (Cup Moth) but the tail is a confounder. Could it be a Lycaenid butterfly caterpillar?

Or is it a beetle larva of some variety?

Body length (excluding tail): 10mm.

Okay, actually the puddling part is insect behavior, and the blues part is what butterflies of the family Lycaenidae are called. And these particular Chinese butterflies are pale hedge blues.

Photograph by John Horstman [ itchydogimages ]
Mud-puddling Pale Hedge Blues
(Udara dilecta, of the family Lycaenidae)

Mud-puddling, or simply puddling, is behaviour most conspicuous in butterflies, but occurs in other animals as well, mainly insects; they seek out certain moist substances such as rotting plant matter, mud and carrion and they suck up the fluid. Where the conditions are suitable, butterflies will form sizable aggregations. From the fluids they obtain nutrients such as salts and amino acids that play various roles in their physiology.

Pu’er, Yunnan, China

Posted on Flickr March 25, 2014

All That Glitters Is Not Gold - Sometimes It’s a Damselfly 
Macrophotography by John Horstman (itchydogimages)
Pu’er, Yunnan, China

[Common names]
Stream Glory, Oriental Greenwing, Chinese Greenwing,
Green-winged Demoiselle or Green Metalwing

Neurobasis chinensis chinensis (family Calopterygidae - the demoiselles), female

Animalia >  Arthropoda >  Insecta >  Odonata >  Zygoptera >
Family: Calopterygidae >  
Genus: Neurobasis    [WP]

Posted March 16, 2014 on Flickr copyright John Horstman // sharing enabled
All That Glitters Is Not Gold - Sometimes It’s a Damselfly