The end and the beginning
A moment of simultaneous fascination and sadness upon seeing this phenomenon for the first time. Such is the natural world and all its many convoluted, connected pathways.
I believe this is a catalpa sphinx moth caterpillar that has been parasitised by braconid wasps...seen here attached to the caterpillar are the wasp pupae, or cocoons that have finished feeding and are metamorphosing into adults.
I noted that the caterpillars (although often stunted and slow to react), looked alive with their extra baggage of cocoons - but I learned that the damage had been done and their days were numbered.
Body length of caterpillar 50mm