Molting – do not disturb
Go away, can’t you see I’m busy?This may be a puzzling scene, at first.
Caterpillars do not have regular eyes, but a series of stemmata. Up to six stemmata form arcs on either side of the head. Notice where the head appears to be… and where the eyes are. Something is up!
This Acronicta americana is in the process of molting, and it is working on releasing its head capsule.
They should not be bothered during this delicate process, as they are softer than usual and can easily be damaged.
Here is another individual, who had just finished the whole business.Check out that big head! It will take some time, probably a few days, for it to grow so its body is proportional to its head size. Then, when it’s ready, it will molt again, leaving a fuzzy mess behind.