July 7, 2020

Growing up I remember hearing my parents say, “you are what you eat.” While we all know this is a metaphor, some caterpillars have taken the phrase literally. Certain emerald moth caterpillars in the genus Synchlora decorate their bodies with bits of flowers from the plants they consume. We would see this as our children being difficult, but these Synchlora adorn themselves in plant material for camouflage. The floral disguise makes them less noticeable to predators and increases their chance of reaching adulthood! If you wish to attract these caterpillars to your yard, include native plants from the composite family such as coreopsis, black-eyed Susans, sunflowers, and asters. No time for gardening? Spend some time strolling by the flowerbeds around the Bluff and see if you can find these floral fashionistas.

Written by Aaron Palmieri.

Emerald Moth data-image=
An emerald moth caterpillar in the genus Synchlora on Lanceleaf Coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata).
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