Monday, July 18, 2011

What the heck is that?!

That's the question I had in mind when I walked up and saw what is in the photo below. Twan and I were nearing the end of our survey and mapping work for the day at CAS' Banks South Farm last Friday when he went off trail and bent down to look at something. I thought he had found an intriguing plant or mammal mark of some sort. As I came up to him I thought, "Whoa, he saw that from all the way over there?" He has some incredibly sharp eyes from his years of experience across the globe, but some strange bird droppings on a plant on the forest floor from 25 feet away is crazy.


I was wrong. What is this?!

Go ahead, take a look at it for a minute. Examine it as closely as you can.

Have you thought of anything yet? Any clue whatsoever?

This is your final chance...

It is a Pearly Wood Nymph, a species of moth. It certainly has a fantastic defensive appearance. Not many predators would bother it looking the way it does. Even a tired human like myself would have dismissed it. At a distance it resembled bird droppings even more than this close photo. What made spotting it even better was that Twan had never seen one of them before, either. He can and does find anything and everything.

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation Technician

Photo © Scott Kruitbosch

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