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.