Friday, June 30, 2017

Cute Little Devils

Young Hickory Horned Devil - CB*
Mating pair - Jane Troup
We recently posted Regal Moth and the Devil that featured mating Regal Moths and the Hickory Horned Devil (HHD) caterpillar.  Jane put the mating pair in a paper grocery bag and delivered them to Chris Barnhart (CB) who collected their eggs and raised the caterpillars with the help of some volunteers.  They then went on to star in the Caterpillar Petting Zoo at the Butterfly Festival.*

Newly hatched Hickory Horn Devil meeting its siblings - CB*
Some of the eggs went to Linda Bower, our videographer extraordinaire.  She recorded and edited two amazing videos of the early life of the HHD.  In this first video you will see them hatching from their tiny eggs and erecting their scoli.

Body wall projections - Abigail M. Parker
Not familiar with scoli?  I wasn't either until recently (as in the last 10 minutes).  Many larvae of beetles and moths have hair like projections on their bodies commonly called setae.  These are then classified further by their morphology and used to identify the species.  Our HHD projections are classified as scoli.  Unlike some moth caterpillars which have toxic setae that can cause stinging and burning sensations, the HHD is quite harmless.

Molting Hickory Horn Devil - Linda Bower
Finally, Linda's second HHD video shows a caterpillar molting, quite a feat when you think about all those scoli it has to erect again.  But you have to admit it is really a cute little devil.
* You can see Chris's selected photographs from the Festival at this link.