Photo: Tiger moth caterpillar shows its feline side

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49 of 1184

Our photo of the day comes from the Mindo Lindo Cloudforest Reserve of Ecuador.

It's rather remarkable how a larva that turns into a moth or butterfly can look so mammalian. For example, this tiger moth caterpillar (Halysidota sp.) that looks more kitten than caterpillar.

Photographed by Andreas Kay, this little guy shows off one of the caterpillar's best defenses, a fluffy fur coat. Not only do the hairs add a layer of protection between a predator and the caterpillar's soft body, but they often pack a toxic painful sting that helps keep hungry animals at bay. Is it any wonder that the Swiss German word for caterpillar (teufelskatz) translates to "devil's cat"?

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