There Must Be Magic

By GirlWithACamera

Big Orange Caterpillar and Its Chamber of Secrets

We were in the Scotia Barrens, not far from the shooting range. My husband was jogging and I was looking for butterflies. The pink thistle blooms that were a hotbed of butterfly activity a few weeks ago have fallen from grace. August has grown long in the tooth, the seasons are on the cusp, and the thistle blooms are turning to fluff. Hey, that almost sounded like a poem!

I spotted a huge orange caterpillar in the bushes there - one of the biggest I've ever seen, to be honest; maybe as much as five inches long! - and I had to stop and take a bunch of pictures. My camera is part of my investigative technique: I see a cool thing. I take a picture, or many pictures. I go home and look it up.

My friend Anne was the first to identify this as a spiny oakworm moth (Anisota stigma) caterpillar. I'll put a link to more info about the critter here. It dines on oak type things (scrub oak, in this case). It eventually turns into an orange moth, which is pretty cool, too.

The source I've linked to indicates that "Fully-grown caterpillars pupate and overwinter in underground chambers." It is a pleasant thought to think of this big fella dreaming amazing dreams in some secret underground chamber, waiting out the winter snows. Please meet:

Big Orange Caterpillar and Its Chamber of Secrets.

Here's a fun song for such a big critter: Peter Gabriel, with Big Time.

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