What is That Thing?

While photographing stuff on flowers sometimes you run across something that looks completely unusual.   This was on a gray-headed cone flower.

This is a creature of some sort, but what is it?  It looks unlike anything else I have seen.

Here is another view:

When you look at it closely, you can see that it is a caterpillar of some kind.  But it has a lot of weird stuff on it that other caterpillars don’t have.

So I looked it up.  The caterpillar is called a camouflaged looper, Synchlora aerata.  The unusual appendages are plant parts that the caterpillar attaches as a camouflage.  Its look changes on other species of flower because it uses different raw materials.

Here is what the moth that it eventually turns into looks like:

The moth is called the wavy-lined emerald.

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About the roused bear

Nature photographer from central Iowa.
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