Culture Art & Media Photo: Transformer Caterpillar Flips Over to Become a Scary Snake By Melissa Breyer Editorial Director Hunter College F.I.T., State University of New York Cornell University Melissa Breyer is Treehugger’s editorial director. She is a sustainability expert and author whose work has been published by the New York Times and National Geographic, among others. our editorial process Melissa Breyer Updated August 13, 2020 Andreas Kay / flickr Share Twitter Pinterest Email Culture History Travel Sustainable Fashion Art & Media Holidays Community 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.) Would you like to see your nature photo featured as the TreeHugger photo of the day? Join TreeHugger’s Reader Photo Pool on flickr and add your pictures to the group. This updated post was originally posted in 2016.