Caterpillars are slow and often tasty, making them prime targets for predation, particularly by birds. In response, they’ve evolved a number of defenses, including bodily toxins and bright warning coloration to alert predators of those toxins, nasty spines, cryptic coloration to hide themselves, or even mimicry of other animals, like snakes, to frighten predators. Several of these defenses can be seen in the images below.
Environmental graffiti has collected 15 pictures of weird, scary, or downright bizarre caterpillars, and it’s worth looking at all of them. I’ll present only five (click to enlarge); as far as I can see, every single one of these was misidentified on the site. Readers who know these things—help!
This one mimics a snake:
You can find more photos of bizarre caterpillars (and other weird insects) at Slackstack. Here are two (sources and identity unspecified):