Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hairy Lymantriids

Yet another visitor on our balcony, speedily identified by Shaku -

That is certainly a Lymantriid caterpillar - the id features are the tufts of hair on its back. Usually there are 4 tufts - but I could clearly see only 3 in this picture - thats maybe because the head is bent downwards, or the 1st tuft may have fallen off also - they are defensive in function. I think it belongs to the genus Orgyia (and species pseudotsugata).

Interestingly this caterpillar finds mention in Arundhati Roy's book, God Of Small Things. Pappachi the Imperial Entomologist discovers "a new species of lymantriid with unusually dense dorsal tufts" but its mis-classification leaves him disappointed.

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