Photo: Transformer caterpillar flips over to become a scary snake

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176 of 1009

Well if it isn't the ol' snake-mimic caterpillar! Otherwise known as Hemeroplanes triptolemus, this shape-shifting larva of a sphinx moth has one of the dandiest of tricks to perform when feeling threatened. It flips up its back section to reveal a perfectly rendered snake face, complete with white spots acting as the reflection of light. Incredible! It also mimics snake behavior with actual darting gestures. If I were a bird, I'd stay so far away.

Thank you to photographer Andreas Kay who took this remarkable photo in the Amazon rainforest near Puyo, Ecuador.

(See more of these masters of mimicry here: 10 spectacular caterpillars that look like snakes.)

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