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Papilionidae caterpillar snake mimic khao yai

In the world of Lepidoptera some species of the Sphingidae family of moths and of the Papilionidae family of butterflies are known for snake mimicry in the later caterpillar instars. Viewed from a head on angle some species look dramatically

like snakes to our eyes and some, such as the Sphingidae Hemeroplanes sp., have even been documented to supposedly mimic snake behaviour as well.

I had never seen one in the forest before, but on a day trip to Khao Yai National Park a week ago I was lucky enough to have my first encounter with a 5th instar Papilionidae caterpillar. This is a big caterpillar of about 70 mm length and at first galnce the mimicry was not apparant but when you get down low and look at it head on .............

Papilionidae caterpillar snake mimic khao yai

Papilionidae caterpillar apparently mimics a snake



Papilionidae caterpillar snake mimic khao yai

From the side the snake mimicry is less apparent

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admin replied the topic: #1282 24 Aug 2013 12:53
The trip actually yielded 3 firsts for me, the other two being..........

An unknown planthopper (Fulgoroidea)

and the amazing female Yellow Scorpion-Tailed Spider (Arachnura sp.). Although I cannot claim to have found this tiny spider. It was Old Ed's find and I just sneaked a photo of it. Even though he pointed it out to me I would never have guessed the little blob on the underside of a leaf was in fact a spider. Amazing.

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