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Milkweed Tussock Caterpillar This caterpillar sported wild tufts of black, white, and orange hairs (setae), which are characteristic warning colors.. The head was black. As with monarch larvae, milkweed tiger moth caterpillars obtain cardiac glycosides from the milkweed that they feed on, and they continue to retain them as adults. But, while the milkweed tiger moth caterpillars have the bold warning colors of orange and black, the adult moth is drab and brown. Usually, you would expect the adults to also have bright warning colors just as the larvae do in order to scare off potential predators. However, the cardiac glycosides stored in the body of the moth are still put to good use, but in an unusual way. The milkweed tiger moth has an organ that emits an ultrasonic signal, which is easily detected by bats. The signal somehow warns that an attack will be rewarded with a noxious distasteful meal, and bats thus soon learn to avoid these tiger moths as potential prey. Caterpillar,Euchaetes egle,Geotagged,Milkweed Tussock,Milkweed Tussock Caterpillar,Milkweed Tussock Moth,Summer,United States Click/tap to enlarge Promoted

Milkweed Tussock Caterpillar

This caterpillar sported wild tufts of black, white, and orange hairs (setae), which are characteristic warning colors.. The head was black. As with monarch larvae, milkweed tiger moth caterpillars obtain cardiac glycosides from the milkweed that they feed on, and they continue to retain them as adults. But, while the milkweed tiger moth caterpillars have the bold warning colors of orange and black, the adult moth is drab and brown. Usually, you would expect the adults to also have bright warning colors just as the larvae do in order to scare off potential predators. However, the cardiac glycosides stored in the body of the moth are still put to good use, but in an unusual way. The milkweed tiger moth has an organ that emits an ultrasonic signal, which is easily detected by bats. The signal somehow warns that an attack will be rewarded with a noxious distasteful meal, and bats thus soon learn to avoid these tiger moths as potential prey.

    comments (4)

  1. Always to learn something interesting. Had no idea about this extraordinary ability! I wonder from which side is the head? Posted 3 months ago
    1. The head is on the right :) Posted 3 months ago
  2. Wow, Christine, great job on this Observation, not only is the picture very nice, but you cap it with interesting and educating informations! Posted 3 months ago
    1. Thanks Albert! When I taught entomology at University, those interesting and educational details were how I kept my students interested...and awake ;P Posted 3 months ago

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''Euchaetes egle'', the Milkweed Tussock Caterpillar or Milkweed Tiger Moth, is a moth in the family Arctiidae. It is a common mid- through late-summer feeder on milkweeds and dogbane. Like most species in this family, it has chemical defenses it acquires from its host plants, in this case, cardiac glycosides . These are retained in adults and deter bats, and presumably other predators, from feeding on them . Only very high cardiac glycoside concentrations deterred bats, however . Adults indicate.. more

Similar species: Moths And Butterflies
Species identified by Christine Young
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By Christine Young

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Uploaded Jan 9, 2018. Captured Aug 24, 2017 10:46 in 281 Main St S, Woodbury, CT 06798, USA.
  • Canon EOS 60D
  • f/11.0
  • 1/256s
  • ISO400
  • 100mm