Photo: The Very Hairy Caterpillar

Close up of a hairy caterpillar

Andreas Kay / flickr

Our photo of the day illustrates why the word 'caterpillar' (literally, shaggy cat) makes perfect sense. The word caterpillar comes from the Old North French caterpilose literally meaning "shaggy cat." Meanwhile, a Swiss German name for the creeping critters is teufelskatz, meaning "devil's cat." If there were ever a reason to wonder why these names came about, one look at our photo of the day should clear things up immediately. What a wonderful example of a caterpillar, seen in Ecuador and photographed by Andreas Kay ... this may be the shaggiest devil's cat yet. 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. Alternatively, send it to with "photo of the day" in the subject line.