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 Post subject: Invertebrate: Caterpillars, Processionary
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2005 6:48 pm 
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Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2005 7:12 pm 
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Although I have not seen it for quite a number of years, I have seen substantially longer 'trains' of this caterpillars in the park before. I tried to obtain more info on the species, but unfortunately it seems I do not have the correct reference material.

Another impressive 'train' you see sometimes (which I also have not seen recently) is the Matebele Ants.


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Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2005 7:22 pm 
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This is the longest we have seen so far

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Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2005 8:08 pm 
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Yeah, this is more the type of 'trains' I recall.


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2005 10:49 pm 
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These are members of the family Thaumetopoeidae (Processionary worms). There are nine species in Southern Africa, and in the KNP they occur only south of the Olifants River. The most common type is Anaphe reticulata.

The catterpillars form long "trains" when moving from one food source to another. The catterpillars walk touching the one in front and will stop abbruptly when one loose contact whith the one in front. These group can be up to 600 strong, but is usually a lot less.

When pupating they spin a silk envelope over the entire group. In this each larvae spin its own cocoon. You often see this spongy mass in hidden corners.

The highly attractive adult moths is short lived.
:wink:

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 Post subject: Processionary caterpillars
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 03, 2006 8:13 am 
During Zebra and my last Kruger visit, beginning of June, we encountered these worms walking in a line Zebra’s trip report

Yesterday afternoon at Marloth we saw them again. I almost had a hart attack because from afar it seemed to be a massive white snake. :shock:

Enlarge photo to see better
Image

Image

They were making there way up into on of our Knob-thorn trees. We unfortunately did not have the time to see what they planned to do in the tree….. I will have a look next weekend.

Image

Do any of you have an idea as to what type of worms these are and why they display this behaviour? Might it be to put off predators? They do look like one big snake…. :?

Edited to change heading


Last edited by Jumbo on Mon Jul 03, 2006 8:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 03, 2006 8:17 am 
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Brand hulle jou as jy aan hulle vat? :lol:
Do they burn you when you touch them? :lol:

I am not going near those things, one of those burn worms nailed me on my leg once whilst I was in bed and it burned like hell itself. Had a nice swolen, tender mark on my leg for 3 days or so. Thought it was a spider... Remember how I screamed out: "Daar het hy my nou!" :lol: :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Strange Worms?
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 03, 2006 8:37 am 
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They are called Processionary caterpillars /worms. There are 2 'believes' about this walking in a line... 1 is to find food. each caterpillar leaves a strong strand of silk behind them and those that follow walk along the line of silk.
So they are literally creating a silk road that helps keep the line together (the thread left by the leader makes it easier for the followers to keep to the straight and narrow)

And the second one is as you guessed to put off predators.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 03, 2006 8:44 am 
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They are Processionary caterpillars, like the Ochrogaster lunifer. That one lives in Australia, but it will give you a good idea of what they are like and such.
As WTM says, stay well away from them, their hairs are known to irritate at lot, and also disperse in the wind, irritating peoples lungs!

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 03, 2006 9:11 am 
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Just for the clarification of the use of the term "worm" in SA:

Do you guys use worm as equivalent to caterpillar?
It just occured to me that you also call the larva/caterpillar of the mopani moth "Mopani worm".
To me worms and caterpillars are two very different animals...

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 03, 2006 10:31 am 
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I believe it might be more complex than following a strand of silk. (Admittedly only based on one observation of the caterpillars.)

Image

What I observed one day while taking pictures is that when the line breaks for some reason (in that case caused by me moving a branch out of the line of sight of my camera) the whole procession comes to a halt.

Image

The last caterpillar in the front line immediately halted and this caused a chain reaction of stopping all the way to the first caterpillar. The front caterpillar of the bakc line (the one that lost touch with its predecessor started slowly searching left and right until it connected with the one in front again and from there the whole train got moving again.

This leads me to believe there is (in addition to the silk thread maybe?) some form of tacticle or scent based mechanism involved in keeping the chain intact.


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 Post subject: Re: Processionary caterpillars
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 12:06 pm 
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The adult processionary moth.

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 Post subject: Re: Insect ID needed
Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2009 9:54 pm 
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Does anybody knows the ID of these caterpillars?

Image

Thank you!!

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Last edited by Magic Guarri on Sat Sep 12, 2009 10:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Insect ID needed
Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2009 9:59 pm 
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Magic, these look like Processionary worms. (members of the family Thaumetopoeidae)

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 Post subject: Re: Insect ID needed
Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2009 10:02 pm 
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See this link Processionary caterpillars

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