Caterpillar camouflage

Last week on the morning I woke up with this cold I went for a morning walk, hoping some exercise would help me shake the sick feeling. On the way back I passed a neighbor's mailbox planting for the 20th time this summer and the little flowers caught my eye:

Not sure why this morning was different from the rest, but I stopped to look more closely. I usually don't have my phone with my but did today, so was able to photograph what I found next.


Lovely little flowers...

...but this mass of plants, which looks like this from a step or two back...

...was hiding many little caterpillars!

This seems like there are two different plants mixed together here, where the red ones are no longer blooming but still home to caterpillars...

...who have adapted perfectly! Red caterpillars!

If I hadn't been feeling ill (the walk didn't help) I would have gone home and gotten the good camera and the macro lens, but as it's been over a week those caterpillars must surely have pupated by now.

I got excited about this one...

...until I realized that it was actually just a feather stuck to that stem.

It pays to look closely!

Anybody able to ID either these plants or the caterpillars for me? I suspect the plants are Missouri natives if that helps.


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J Mantha  – (September 23, 2015 at 2:10 AM) just a guess

Charlie@Seattle Trekker  – (September 24, 2015 at 12:08 AM)  

Indeed it pays to look more closely. I do love that stroll in the morning; it is hard to tell what you may discover.

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