Watch This Caterpillar Freak Out Whenever She Hears a Noise!

When entomologist Aaron Pomerantz yelled down to his team from the top of a canopy tower in the Peruvian Amazon, a quick little movement caught his eye. He took a closer look.

What he saw was a bizarre-looking caterpillar with four appendages protruding from its back. The tentacle-esque extremities were apparently sound-sensitive — when Pomerantz yelled to his group, they extended out in different directions, then once again retracted. They speculated that the behavior must be a defense mechanism to distract predators or to blend in with flora.

Pomerantz and his team took turns filming and yelling at the insect to document its strange behavior. None of them had seen anything like it before. They thought it was a brand new species.

Back in the U.S., after some research, Pomerantz found that this behavior in fact had been documented before, in a caterpillar called the horned spanworm. Now he thinks the caterpillar he found might be that species, although it’s difficult to tell at the larval stage. Here’s a picture of the horned spanworm:

Photo Credit: Charles Lewallen, via the Oklahoma Biological Survey

Photo Credit: Charles Lewallen, via the Oklahoma Biological Survey

What do you think — are they the same species? Watch the video here:

Proper TRS rainforestsite_abovevideo
Lockerdome TRS – desktop
Proper TRS rainforestsite_belowcontent
Matthew M. Sullivan holds a bachelor's degree in creative writing from Grand Valley State University, with emphases in fiction and nonfiction. He lives smack-dab between some railroad tracks and Grand Rapids Michigan's third-busiest road, and spends his time studying film and literary fiction.