I have posted about this species before but when I spotted two of the life stages on one tree earlier this week it was an obvious choice for this weeks Macro Monday.
The Tussock Moth must be the ultimate reverse of the Ugly Duckling story. This spectacular caterpillar
With its totally flamboyant headgear
transforms into this utterly unremarkable moth!
This is the flightless female, she emerges from her cocoon which you can just see as the grey woven mass in the top half of the picture she remains in that spot, emitting pheromones to attract the male. She mates with the male and then lays her egg mass right on top of her cocoon, the egg mass is the white area in the picture. When she has laid her eggs she dies, having never moved from the spot where she emerged from her cocoon.
And in case you think that these beautiful caterpillars that emerge into male moths fare any better, not really, the male moth is the same drab colour as the female, it just has brown wings! See what I mean about the reverse Ugly Duckling story??
For lots of great macro posts, check out Macro Monday and discover a whole new world!
Photo Credits - CJT
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