Caterpillar appears as a snake for camouflage

The snake caterpillar uses a clever disguise to ward off
 predators. Photo/Daniel Janzen/Janzen.UPenn.edu/Caters News

By David Strege
GrindTV, May 28, 2014

Professor Daniel Janzen photographs the snake-like bug that wards off
predators by looking and acting like a snake; found in Costa Rica,
Guatemala, and Belize

A caterpillar in Costa Rica uses a unique disguise to ward off predators and the costume is quite striking, as is its response should it be approached.

The caterpillar cleverly camouflages itself as a slithering snake and comes with a head that looks like a snake. The snake caterpillar, in its larval state before becoming a moth, will also strike harmlessly if approached, just as a snake would, with the exception of a potential bite.

According to Caters News Agency, the bug creates the illusion of looking like a dangerous reptile by expanding parts at the end of its body.

Daniel Janzen, a professor of biology at the University of Pennsylvania, took the photos you see here while cataloguing caterpillars in the Area de Conservacion Guanacaste, Costa Rica. Caters News Agency released the photos on Tuesday.

“To normal people this caterpillar might look weird and scary, but for me it’s just a walk in the park,” Janzen told the U.K. MailOnline.

“Every caterpillar in Costa Rica looks like something else, be it a leaf, twig, or in this case, a slithering snake.”

Janzen knows a few things about caterpillars. He’s been tracking them in Costa Rica since 1978 and has been an insect expert for 50 years, according to MailOnline. He spends half a year at the university and the other half in Central America searching for unusual creatures like the snake caterpillar, which can be found in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Belize, and Mexico. He said they are part of the hemeroplanes species.

“Over the years, I’ve seen and photographed so many different types of bugs [that] I’m never surprised,” he told MailOnline. “But they always interest me.”

It might not surprise him, but we’re certainly surprised.

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