|Moves straight- not a snake|
The Eastern tent caterpillars and forest tent caterpillars will move in mass from one tree to another, but I hadn't seen pictures showing them bunched together in an organized fashion.
Pine processionary caterpillars travel in a line, nose to tail, as seen in this video. They are also a tent caterpillar. They come equipped with irritating hairs that can stick in your skin like a tiny harpoon. They remind me of a Roman Legion Army with its spears sticking out in all directions, staying in line with such determination that they can actually go on a march for days.
"Fabre conducted a famous study on the processionary pine larvae where a group of them were attached nose-to-tail in a circle with food just outside the circle; they continued marching in the circle for a week. The caterpillars may follow a trail of pheromones or silk, but the main stimuli that induce following are from the hairs (setae) on the end of the abdomen of the caterpillar in front. The ant mill is a similar phenomenon."These however are in one mass, seeming to crawl all over each other in an organized fashion. Feeling lazy, I sent this off to Kevin Firth and Tom Riley and got my answer back within the day. Proving again it is not just what you know but who you know.
|Larvae- Tom Murray|
|Fungus gnat- by Richard Leung|
Tom shared a link to a blog of the Delaware Nature Society demonstrating a continuous circle when the head of the column accidentally merges with the end. For some reason, this reminds me of my days in the Army.